Who Is Arnold Friend? Essay

862 words - 4 pages

Most of us have heard of the famous story by Oates called ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You been’, featuring the infamous Arnold Friend and plenty of adult themes. So many possible theories stem from just one character from a short story whether he could perhaps be death, or the devil in disguise coming to take Connie away; or perhaps just a mental creepy man coming to kidnap and rape Connie. So many things that Arnold Friend tells little vain Connie can be interpreted in either direction, it is all in how you look at it.
To compare Arnold to the devil is like comparing two kinds of apples. They are basically one in the same thing. There are plenty of hidden messages that are possibly referring Friend to be the Devil in disguise. From the moment Arnold Friend is mentioned we notice his newly painted gold jalopy. Most people know that gold is a sign of divinity and higher power which is our first sign that perhaps he is of some higher being. Even his first words to Connie, “Gonna get you baby” () could possibly be interpreted and the devil telling her that it is her time. He is disguised as someone who she would possibly find appealing but has noticeable features that ends up shocking Connie as to how hold this man possibly be is. It describes him looking as if he is wearing a mask and wig of sorts, which could possibly be hiding some deformity of devilish nature of his. Even his boots do not fit him quite right as mentioned, “One of his boots was at a strange angle as if his foot wasn’t in it” (445), which could be in indication that perhaps he has hooves which is a common feature of demons and the devil. Everything about this man seems very off putting, which starts to frighten Connie. Perhaps this is why he brings Ellie along to sort of ease her. A well noted point mentioned by a high school teacher states, “Maybe he’s there because he is creepy, and Friend can use that creepiness to his advantage as if to say, “You don’t want to get him mad. Look how much nicer I am” (enotes). Another sign would be the taking of little Connie’s innocence. Having sex with Connie, the main example as he states, “And I’ll come inside you where it’s all secret and you’ll give in to me and you’ll love me--” (444). You could almost take it as rape. His forced and derogatory use of the name Christ is also a...

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