Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, February 1997

download word file, 2 pages 3.0

Downloaded 357 times

In Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" critics

argue whether the character of Arnold Friend, clearly the story's antagonist, represents

Satan in the story. Indeed, Arnold Friend is an allegorical devil figure for the main reason

that he tempts Connie, the protagonist, into riding off with him in his car.

Oates characterizes Arnold Friend at first glance as "a boy with shaggy, black hair,

in a convertible jalopy painted gold"(581). She lets the reader know that Arnold is not a

teenager when Connie begins to notice the features such as the painted eyelashes, his

shaggy hair which looked like a wig, and his stuffed boots; these features led her to believe

he was not a teenager, but in fact, much older. Oates does make Arnold out to be a

psychopathic stalker, but never objectively states the diabolical nature to his character.

In "Connie's Tambourine Man", a critical essay on the story, the authors write

about Arnold Friend: "There are indeed diabolical shades to Arnold just as Blake and

Shelley could see Milton's Satan a positive, attractive symbol of the poet, the religious

embodiment of creative energy, so we should also be sensitive to Arnold's multifaceted and

creative nature"(Tierce and Crafton 608).

Mike Tierce and John Michael Crafton suggest

that Arnold Friend is not a diabolical figure, but instead a religious and cultural savior.

On a more realistic note, Joyce M. Wegs argues the symbolism of Arnold Friend as

a Satan figure when she writes: "Arnold is far more a grotesque portrait of a psychopathic

killer masquerading as a teenager; he also has all the traditional, sinister traits of that arch

deceiver and source of grotesque terror, the devil"(616). She also writes about how the

author sets up the idea of a religious,