Where Are You Going Where Have You Been Arnold Friend Character Analysis

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Joyce Carol Oates’ short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” focuses on how the character Arnold Friend actually defies the common archetype of enemy and instead acts as a savior, rescuing Connie from her misery. Connie, a fifteen year old girl, frequently goes out with her friends to escape from her family. One day when her parents are gone, a man, Arnold Friend, appears in her driveway requesting that she goes with him for a ride. She is persistent in staying at home, but eventually gives into him and goes with him because Connie’s life at home is not great. Her mother is always complaining about Connie’s actions and one day “Connie’s mother kept picking on her until Connie wished her mother was dead and she herself was dead and it …show more content…

She does not get affection from her family, and feels isolated from them. Connie first receives affection from Arnold when he asks her “You wanta come for a ride” (Oates 8). No one has ever offered Connie any affection. Her family looks down on her as the disappointing child and she is just a young girl trying to be loved. Arnold asking her to come for a ride and seeking to spend time with her is the attention she is missing in her daily life. She views something as small as a car ride exciting and new because her family avoids giving her the opportunity to be in a situation where she can have adventures and feel love. At the end of the story, when Arnold is still trying to convince Connie to come in his car for a ride he tells her, “I’ll have my arms tight around you so you won’t need to try and get away and I’ll show you what love is like” (Oates 26) Arnold is only trying to provide Connie with the love she is lacking from her family. She does not know what love is and most of the time resents her family and the expectations she is expected to meet. Connie has never been close with anyone, so she does not understand how to give and receive

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