Where You Going Where Have You Been?

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The Devil's Favorite Sin: Vanity

In "Where are You Going, Where Have you Been?" Joyce Carol Oates uses an allegorical figure of evil to illustrate the theme of temptation. Oates alludes to hell through the character Arnold Friend, as the devil, and his victim Connie, who invites him in by committing one of the devil's favorites sins: vanity.

The narrator implies that Arnold Friend is Satan by giving certain clues that the reader can easily deduce. The name that Oates gives to the character is one hint to the reader: "Connie looked away from Friend's smile to the car, which was painted so bright it almost hurt her eyes to look at it. She looked at the name, Arnold Friend. She looked at it for a while as if the words meant something to her that she did not yet know" (583). The name "friend" was commonly used by the Protestants to refer to evil or the devil. Moreover, Arnold Friend's appearance also hints that he is Satan: "There were two boys in the car and now she recognizes the driver: he had shaggy, shabby black hair that looked as a crazy wig"(583). The narrator emphasizes the "wig" to make the reader think that he is wearing it for a purpose, which is hide his devil's horns. Also, the fact that Arnold Friend's eyes are covered is another stragedy use by Oates to confirm the assumption of the diabolic presence: " He took off the sunglasses and she saw how pale the skin around his eyes was it, like holes that were not in shadow but instead in light. His eyes were chips of broken glass that catch the light in an amiable way" (584). In this quote, Oates suggests that Arnold Friend is hiding something more than an evil "look"; he is hiding his own satanic appearance.

Besides Arnold Friend physical appearance, which makes the reader assume that his character is not a human being, Oates gives him supernatural powers that a normal person could not have. One example of this is the power that he has over Connie; he knows everything that involves her: "...
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