Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? - Arnold Friend Analysis

Essay by Co1dCollege, UndergraduateC, October 2008

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In many religions, the major representation of an evil spirit, ruler of Hell, and rival of God is of course the Devil. His power to distress humans both with physical sickness and with spiritual corruption is inexplicable. However, the idea of a man with such power and knowledge has been used in stories and films alike. In Joyce Carol Oates' short story, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Oates depicts Arnold Friend as the Devil; we can see this through his physical description, strange seduction, and his supernatural knowledge of Connie.

The bodily features of Arnold Friend suggest he is the devil in disguise. During the whole event, Connie recognizes the way Arnold Friend "wobbled in his high boots" (196). She believed that he may have been a drunken stumbling man until she identifies "one of his boots was at a strange angle, it pointed out to the left, but at the ankle" (197).

Nevertheless, Connie continues to examine his boots, and comes to the conclusion that "his feet did not go all the way down" (197). Illustrations of the Devil propose that he walks in a bent manner; legs twisted in a bizarre way, and have feet that angle into goat hooves. A clear reference to the Devil is present in the form of Arnold Friend walking style and appearance of his boots.

Coupled with the physical features, Arnold Friend's attire implies an extra layer of his disguise. In most stories and films, the Devil is always among us, but in disguise. By dressing as a teenager, he is able to give the impression that they both are relatively the same age, and is able set a common ground with Connie. For instance, Connie enjoyed "the way he dressed, which was the way all of...