Arnold Friend Character Analysis

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English 21011
Friend Spells ‘Sociopath’
The persona of a sociopath appears to be much like any human. In many cases, one would not be able to "pick him out of a crowd." Their minds, however, differ greatly from the average mind. A sociopath is extremely smart and methodical and most often is very meticulous in the way in which he acts. While many people are not thinking beyond the norm, a psychopath thinks about his every breath, step, and word. In the short story "Where are you going, Where have you been?" by Joyce Carol Oates, the depiction of a sociopath is apparent. Arnold’s mannerism, thoughts and tactics create the perfect portrayal of a truly sociopathic character. Arnold Friend follows Connie from the beginning of the story. When Connie finally notices his presence, "he [stares] at her and then his lips widen…and there he [is] still watching her," revealing his true desires and aspirations. Arnold not only wants to kill Connie, but to see and understand every breath she takes. Although she is unaware of his closeness, it becomes obvious that Arnold Friend is stalking Connie. When he states, "I know my Connie", it is clear that in Arnold's mind, Connie is a component of his game that he must understand. Bringing fear to Connie's eyes, Arnold states, "I know your name and all about you, lots of things,” truly proving the breadth of his knowledge and his demented intentions. Recalling seeing Connie at the drive-in the night before, "wagging a finger and laughing," and saying "gonna get you, baby" in response to Connie's smirk, he reveals his true obsession with Connie. Although Arnold pursues Connie stealthily, there are many other elements of his behavior that testify to his sociopathic mind. Arnold Friend's mannerisms augment his sociopathic intellect. When confronting Connie, his odd behavior and charming personality seem to point toward a strategy to trick her by giving into his game; a game of fear and control that sociopaths...
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