Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?

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Matt Merritt
Professor Smith
English 102
13 September 2012
Arnold Friend’s Identity in Joyce’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
In the story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” Joyce Oates portrays Connie as a beautiful young woman that is being coerced by a man, whom she doesn’t know, to come outside and go for a ride in his car. Who is this man that calls himself Arnold Friend? What does he represent? Looking at the things that Arnold Friend says and does will help to discover who he is.

Oates equips Friend with many characteristics that make him appear to be the devil, such as his deceiving appearance, and his extreme desire to do evil things to Connie. Arnold does a great job of covering up the evil inside of him by having a very handsome and clean appearance, possessing a fantastic personality, and overall, he portrays himself to be someone that Connie might be interested in. He says things like, “you’re cute” (294) and “be nice honey” (298) to try to make himself seem harmless. His appearance seems to be working as, “Connie liked the way he was dressed: tight faded jeans stuffed into black, scuffed boots, a belt that pulled his waist in and showed how lean he was, and a white pull-over shirt that was a little soiled and showed the hard small muscles of his arms and shoulders” (295). By reading some of the Bible, I understand that there are a lot of times that the devil comes in many deceiving forms that often go undetected.

In the story, it specifically says, “His whole face was a mask, she thought wildly, tanned down to his throat but then running out as if he had plastered makeup on his face but had forgotten about his throat” (298). This shows that she is looking at a man in a disguise. The devil wants people to be willing to do evil things. He does not want to have to force people. He gets much more pleasures out of seeing people do bad things on their own.

In the Bible, the devil is portrayed as having hoofed feet. In...
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