Essay: Arnold Friend in “where are you going where have you been”
Where are you going where have you been is a very short story written by Joyce Carol Oates about a young girl by the name of Connie who is proud of herself and does not like listening to her mother’s advice. She behaves on the contrary to her sister, June, who is very responsible and admired by her mother. Connie likes partying with her best friend and it is in these parties that she meets several boys. One day when out for a party with her best friend as usual, he is invited by her friend Eddie for dinner. It is with this boy friend that she meets a man who swears, “Gonna get you, baby” (Kennedy & Gioia, 656). It is shocking how this man behaves since Connie is not familiar with him. This is the first time we are introduced to the man in the story but his first words are astonishing. He indeed behaves like a devil instantly even before we are ware of his name. It is only later in the story that we learn that the man’s name is Arnold Friend.
Oates shows her theme of temptation by using a devil figure that has devilish deeds. Hell is symbolized in the story through Arnold with the help of Connie, the victim as she allows the devil to continue with his evil as she commits the devil’s favorite sin; Vanity (Barnet 121). Once Arnold comes to Connie’s house in the absence of her sister and mother, there are some occurrences that show that he is indeed a devil. Once he arrives to the house, “Connie —– to the car, which was painted so bright it almost hurt her eyes to look at it. She looked at the name, Arnold Friend —— as if the words meant something to her that she did not yet know” (Kennedy & Gioia 660). It should be noted that the name given to the character has been used for a while by the Protestants to refer to the devil or his works. The appearance of Arnold at this point of time can be equated to the devil, “he had shaggy, shabby black hair that looked as a crazy wig” (Kennedy & Gioia 658). The wig is emphasized to be crazy so that any reader can understand that there is something the character is hiding; maybe the horns associated with Satan.