The Devil in Disguise: Comparing and Contrasting the Devil Figure in "Where Are You Going; Where Have You Been?" "The Man in the Black Suit" and "Young Goodman Brown"

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 695
  • Published : December 2, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
“Even before he reached me, I recognized the aroma baking up from the skin under the suit--the smell of burned matches. The smell of sulfur. The man in the black suit was the Devil.” (King) A common theme among depictions of The Devil is that of unusual physical attributes. The Devil is depicted in three different stories (Joyce Carol Oates’ ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘Young Goodman Brown’, and Steven King’s ‘The Man In The Black Suit’) in three different ways, yet each description bares remarkable similarities in some aspects to the next. Themes common to the devil are that of his physical appearance or how he presents himself, his apparent supernatural powers or attributes, and his victimology. In ‘The Man in the Black Suit’ the most striking thing, at first glance, about the man is that his eyes were “an orange that shifted and flickered.” (King). He is dressed in an all black suit, a solemn, dark, ominous color, and he was pale. He smelled like sulfur. Similarly, the Devil figure in ‘Young Goodman Brown’ appears to Goodman Brown as a traveler, “dressed in grave and decent attire.” (Hawthorne) Note the connotation of the word grave (solemn). Adversely, in ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’ (Oates) the devil takes the shape of Arnold Friend, a typical, or so it seems, teenage boy. The supernatural attributes of the devil vary, for the most part, from story to story. In the ‘Man in the Black Suit’ he can kill by clapping his hands, and his very shadow causes “the grass beneath it to turn yellow and die.” (King) The Devil in ’Young Goodman Brown’ has a magical staff, “which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought, that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent.” (Hawthorne) However there is one supernatural ability that holds universal for all three stories. In each the devil figure has a certain omniscient air. “And...
tracking img