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Where are you going, Where have you been? By Joyce Carol Oates

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Where are you going, Where have you been? By Joyce Carol Oates

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  • March 26, 2004
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This essay explains the evilness Arnold friend had over Connie and how he manipulated her.

In Joyce Carol Oates, Where are you Going, Where Have You Been, there is a clear interpretation of evil in Arnold Friend and how he pulled Connie into a dark world of sex and emotion. Oates extracts scenes of real life and adds them into her story. The reality Oates implies in her story is to explain there are demons like Arnold out in real life. There are many clues in the story that hint Arnold Friend is not a friend at all, but is in fact a demon that came to take Connie away.

First, when Arnold Friend arrives at Connie's house, Connie has an uneasy feeling about him and feels violated by his presence. For instance, Arnold right away asks Connie if "wanta come for a ride (667)". Arnold seems to be pressuring Connie from the start and is obviously not there just to take her for a ride. The ride that Arnold talks of could possibly even have a sexual connotation that Connie does not pick up on because she is so young and blind to the world of sexual pleasures that Arnold lives in. Words were chosen carefully demonstrating Arnold friend was a devious snake with his actions. Connie views Arnold as an evil character and by his action, the way he tries to force her into wanting to go for a ride, showing up unannounced, telling her he knew her from her friends even though she knew nothing of him, and not letting her know why this car ride was necessary.

Arnold's evilness was described in his physical appearance to his grin and eyes; "he grinned broadly his eyes became slits and she saw how thick the lashes were, thick and black as if painted with a black tar-like material(670)." The author uses a description such as this to illustrate an inhuman quality in a human form. As Arnold kept on talking to Connie, she could not figure out what to decide, his words were mesmerizing to her, but at the same time sending threats if she did not follow his orders. "If you don't come...