Analysis Of Joyce Carol Oates 's ' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been '

Analysis Of Joyce Carol Oates 's ' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been '

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“ An Incarnation of evil “
Joyce Carol Oates short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” follows the story of a 15-year-old girl, in the summer of the late 1960’s named Connie; who loves to act older than she actually is. And by doing this, she attracts the wrong kind of attention, in other words, she succumbs to her own vanities and insecurities. It is clear that the portrayal of Arnold Friend represents an incarnation of evil or Satan himself, who tries to lure Connie into his world of sex, drugs, and false promises. And the harsh reality is, Oates connects the story to real life scenarios, in which young girls, or even grown women are lured and taken away, due to false promises and a good time. Arnold Friend represents an incarnation of evil because, of the way he carries himself, his pride and as we dive deeper into the story, he becomes more unreal and creature like.

To begin, who is Arnold Friend? From what the short story tells. Arnold Friend is a “young man”, who can tap into people’s weakness and desires, and in this case Connie’s fantasies. And like these incarnations of evil, Arnold Friend greatest tool of evil is, manipulation in which he talks Connie into joining him for a ride. Moreover, when Arnold says “Gonna get you baby” (Oates 3) in a hysterical way, he really means it, meaning that he has marked Connie as his next target. And from this point of the story, he kind of follows Connie, and when Connie realizes his presence “He stared at her and then his lips widened into a grin.” (Oates 3) Seeing this, you can see that Arnold reveals his true desires and intentions for Connie.

In addition, Joyce Carol Oates tries to symbolize the devil, though Arnold Friend by the way he talks, his vast knowledge of C...


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...ealize because of her lack of knowledge of him, and her own insecurities, for example, Arnold knows Connie Personally, and the way he can tempt her into doing things that she doesn 't want to do. And then he marks Connie as a though she was a sheep and he was the predator. The way Oates describes Arnold Friend physical appearance, as though he was a supernatural being wearing a mask. Even though the story ends with Connie going with Arnold, I believe that he is going to pick up Connie 's best friend next and take her for a ride, because Connie’s best friend will see Connie in the car next to Arnold and ellie and assume that Arnold is friendly. Furthermore, I believe that Oates drew inspiration for Arnold from Charles Schmidt, a serial killer, used makeup and lip balm to alter his appearance and stuff his boots with newspaper to appear taller and kill younger women.

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