Journal Assignment

Topics: Meaning of life, Victim, Joyce Carol Oates Pages: 3 (966 words) Published: August 27, 2013
Evil has existed in the world since time began. While it is inherent in everyone, some find enjoyment in its effects while others simply cannot find the means to break free from it. In Joyce Carol Oates, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” evil reveals itself as Arnold Friend, a character consumed by wicked thoughts and desires. Arnold pursues a young girl and convinces her through slick conversation and frightening insinuations that there is no other option than to surrender to him, thus sealing her death. In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” by Flannery O’Connor, the character the Misfit, an escaped convict, happens upon a family that has just wrecked their car. Because he needs items they have in their vehicle and because one of the family members recognizes him, he sees no alternative other than to kill them. Both of these characters exemplify evil, but in two distinctly different ways. Arnold Friend is a depraved man who revels in wickedness. He targets young girls in their mid-to-late teens and hangs out in areas that are populated with a variety of young people to choose from. Once he has chosen a victim he begins stalking her like prey. For Arnold the chase is part of the enjoyment. He finds out all about his victim and uses this information to later tease and torment in a way that lets his intentions is made known. While he plays the part of a friendly, jovial young guy, his façade often slips, allowing glimpses of the real Arnold to escape. In these moments his expression or his language show what he is really thinking and what he really feels. This happens as he loses his temper when he believes matters are not progressing in a way they should. Arnold is a man in his middle thirties, but in order to carry out his desired role of a carefree young guy he is forced to change his appearance. He wears the right style of clothes and uses some of the appropriate slang to mimic the victim’s peers but must resort to make-up and a wig to truly cover his...
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