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

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"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" is a short story filled with ideas of vanity and judgment through references of music and the Bible. The main character, Connie, is a vain teenage girl in the 1960s who spends her days exploiting her beauty to fulfill her personal desires. Joyce Carol Oates uses the symbols of Arnold Friend, music, and the deceit of appearances to develop the allegory of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Oates uses several symbols through her characters, such as Arnold Friend, to create a religious allegory about the temptation of the devil. At first Arnold tries to come across as kind, but soon readers become aware of how truly dangerous he is. As stated in Marie Urbanski's analysis, "… he represents a superhuman force" (Urbanski 2) which is further explained by his manipulative …show more content…

Connie's vain personality is hidden behind her good looks that she uses to receive attention. When Arnold Friend first appears in the story, he catches Connie's eye as she walks by, but after learning more about his motives he appears fake. Joanne Creighton explains that "Connie's encounter with Arnold Friend is... not just one girl's perception of the deception of appearances and the terrible reality of evil, but a particularly vivid instance of a universal experience: the loss of innocence" (Creighton 3). Marilyn Wesley then describes Friend as a transgressive other "...who is defined by a narrative position in contrapuntal relation to domestic norms and standards of communicability within which the text is located" (Wesley 1). In other words, Friend is a character based on common practices during a specific time that shapes his personality. However, his appearance is only a mask because he disguises himself as a popular teenage boy, but in reality he was actually in his thirties. The serpent in the garden of Eden also disguised himself as a temptation towards

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