In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” there are many theories as to who Arnold Friend is and what his role. The story does not introduce Arnold till the middle and end of the story when Arnold Friend and Ellie Oscar, his friend, decides to pull up to Connie’s house trying to be gentle, but threatening at the same time. The tone sets the mood of the story, the way he talks is suave, so he doesn’t scare her as much but you could sense a little of annoyance in his voice when she refuses. He asks her to come ride with him, but then starts to threaten her family so she would get out the house and be with him.
She sees the boys who give her attention as subjugations who “dissolve into a single face that was not even a face but an idea” (Oates 675). But soon enough her dreams and music materialize into the shape of Arnold Friend. Arnold Friend is described as a muscular, older, and mysterious character. He seems to be a work of her imagination as he is ultimately an idea she created that would fit into her perfect fantasy world. Connie is defenseless to Arnold Friend’s manipulations mainly because she has no visible identity of her own.
In the story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates the outcome and the meaning relies solely on the reader. For some it’s a riveting fight between good and evil and for others it’s a sordid tale of seduction and loss of innocence. Connie and Arnold Friend represent the struggle between good and evil. Oates’s mixture of literal, figurative, psychological and allegorical makes this a great and suspenseful tale. Oates unmasked Arnold Friend as a satyr which is a demi-god from Greek and Roman mythology.
He knew her name even though she had only quickly glimpsed at him the night prior with no communication from her at all. He knows where her parents are, what they are doing, how long they will be, how they look he even knows who her best friends are. Essentially Arnold Friend is the very essence of nightmare to Connie he is everything she is afraid of. He pressures her in to a situation out of her control. He takes away her pride of rejecting people and forces her to choose her family being hurt of facing her demons and going with him.
Throughout the story, there are many instances: the illogical time and settings, the similarity between Arnold and Connie and the unrealistic events show that the meeting between Connie and Arnold Friend is a dream. The dream is also a preparation for Connie before she steps onto the stage of being an adult. Connie’s dream begins when she refuses to go to her aunt’s house for barbecue party. She stays home, and under the warmness of the sun, she begins her day dreaming about love and the boy she has met the night before. In the beginning, the author writes “Connie sat with her eyes closed in the sun…”
He mysteriously knows where Connie lives and invites himself to drive over to her house. Arnold assumes Connie’s friendship by convincing her that he knows everything and everybody, “I know your name and all about you” (Oates 201) when she never told him her name in the first place. He knew her friends, their names as well as what she did the night before. He also knew exactly where Connie’s family was, at a BBQ at Connie’s aunt Tille’s.
The short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” was written by the author Joyce Carol Oates in 1966. Oates describes her idea for the story after briefly reading an article about the real-life murderer, Charles Schmid, who lured and murdered three teenage girls (Kirszner & Mandell 523). She uses this idea to create the character, Arnold Friend, and his victim, Connie. Connie is a typical teenage girl portrayed as naïve and self-centered. The short story appears realistic, given that the conflict in the story is based off of real events.
In the coming of age story “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been?” Joyce Carol Oates uses symbolism, conflict, and the third person to foreshadow fifteen-year-old Connie’s unfortunate, yet untimely fate. While one may think that the conflict stems from Connie’s promiscuity, it is clear to see her promiscuity is only a result to a much bigger conflict, her mother’s constant nagging and disapproval, alongside the lack of attention from her father. the author paints a vivid picture of what happens when a fifteen-year-old girl such as Connie goes elsewhere to find to find the love, attention, and approval that she lacks at home. All which is vital for her growth and wellbeing as a person.
In her short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?", Joyce Carol Oates utilizes a variety of literary devices to strengthen the story in its entirety. This short story is essentially about a 16-year-old girl named Connie and the conflict between her desire to be mature and her desire to remain an adolescent. Throughout the story, the audience sees this conflict through her words in addition to through her behavior. The audience is also introduced to Arnold Friend, a rather peculiar man, who essentially kidnaps her. This short story by Joyce Carol Oates functions and is additionally meaningful because of her usage of literary devices.
Instead of realizing the danger that she was in, Connie was focused on what Arnold Friend was wearing and how attractive he was. Connie’s obsession with finding her own sexuality overpowered her gut feeling of danger. In an analysis of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”, Barbara Wiedemann discusses how the antagonist Arnold Friend is based upon serial killer Charles Schmid, who murdered several young girls during the 1960s. In the analysis, Wiedemann
This literary piece undoubtedly is an allusion to a religious allegory and also a representation of contemporary events. There are several examples in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” that would relate it to a religious allegory. Arnold Friend is a seemingly mysterious character that possess almost all knowing information about Connie. When Friend arrives at her house, he knows her name without Connie ever mentioning it to which she replies “I never said my name was Connie” (Oates 163). Arnold is also knowledgeable about who Connie associates with, “your best girl friends name is Betty… Betty Shultz and Tony Fitch and Jimmy Pettinger and Nancy Pettinger” (Oates 163-164).
Myles Hypse February 3rd, 2017 English 1B 3:30-4:40pm Two Psychopaths Both of these stories give the reader a good look into the eyes of two psychopaths, who both refuse to take no for an answer. One of them, Arnold Friend although at first appearing friendly, is nothing more than a malicious predator, similar in kind to The Misfit, who greets his victims in a much more sinister way. The two characters, when stood side by side, almost seemed as they become one, yet are polar opposites. When one compares the character Arnold Friend to that of The Misfit, more similarities come forward than differences.
Arnold Friend, the antagonist in Joyce Carol Oates’s story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” represents the devil who arrives to bring Connie to the underworld. For example, his unusual appearance implies that he is an inhuman being, unlike what he wants to lead on. As he struggles to walk from his car to the front door, Connie notes that “his whole face was a mask... tanned down to his throat...as if he had..makeup on..but had forgotten about his throat”(5). Arnold Friend covers his demonic features in order to pass as a teenager with the intention of deceiving Connie into leaving with him.
I believe that in the short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” false perception V.S. reality is seen. The main theme in this short story is the conflict between fantasy and reality. One of the main characters in this short story is Connie. She tries very hard to create an adult persona.
The story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates, is a one where the idea of how girl who struggles with wanting to be a mature woman, faces her demon full form. The protagonist of the story is Connie, a 15-year-old rebel girl, obsessed with her look; and through fault of her own, meets the antithesis of herself, the antagonist of the story, Arnold Friend. Connie seeks to be a mature adult and desires an emancipation from her family. Seeing herself as mature woman through the desires of her attraction by other boys and men, as well as her mother. Its this same desire which acts as the main fault for her character.