Arnold Friend Devil Essay Outline

Arnold Friend

Character Analysis

Signs that a guy might be trouble:

  • The first words out of his mouth are "Gonna get you, baby."
  • He stuffs his boots so that he looks taller, even though it makes him walk like a drunken pirate.
  • He has a picture of himself spray-painted on the side of his car, a picture that makes him look like a "pumpkin." (Pumpkin + smile = jack-o'-lantern.)
  • He seems to be around thirty (maybe even old enough to be your father), but he tries to look like a teenager.
  • You'd pity him for trying so hard, except that he's also threatening to abduct you.
  • He admits to stalking you and finding out all kinds of details about you from your so-called friends.
  • His idea of flirty banter is threatening your family with bodily harm.

Ah, if only Connie spent less time listening to the radio and more time reading Shmoop. (Couldn't pass up an opportunity for shameless self-promotion.)

As Connie tries to get a handle on Arnold, she realizes that:

She recognized most things about him [...] even that slippery friendly smile of his, that sleepy dreamy smile that all the boys used to get across ideas they didn't want to put into words. [...] But all these things did not come together. (77)

Arnold is a "blur," and every attempt to see him for what he really is only generates "dizziness" rather than mental clarity (94).

That's because Arnold Friend is a blend of some familiar types from literature and pop culture. He's the Matthew McConaughey character from Dazed and Confused, the guy who still hangs out at high school way after he's graduated. But he's also got qualities that a long literary tradition associates with evil – like Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost or Dostoevsky's devil in The Brothers Karamazov. (Want more devilish connotations? Take out the "r's" from "Arnold Friend" and you're left with "An old fiend.")

Like these great literary bad guys, Arnold can zero in on the weaknesses and desires of those around him – in this case, Connie's romantic fantasies. And like these incarnations of evil, Arnold's greatest tool of manipulation is a forked tongue. He's a travesty of morality, the "Friend" who isn't a friend. He keeps his promises, but his promises are all threats. Coming from his lips, the word "love" loses all of its idealistic connotations and becomes a violent and obscene thing.

No matter what Connie says or does, Arnold keeps talking – and yet he reveals nothing about himself. He never physically coerces Connie to join him, but his words have the same force and pull as the actions he only threatens to take:

"Soon as you touch the phone I don't need to keep my promise and can come inside [...] anybody can break through a screen door and glass and wood and iron or anything else if he needs to, anybody at all, and specially Arnold Friend." (116-118)

Death or evil incarnate posing as an ordinary man: this is the mess of contradictions that makes Arnold Friend so terrifying and so unforgettable.

Arnold Friend As The Devil Archetype

In literature, Archetypal Criticism is a critical approach where the reader interprets the meaning of a story by looking at the archetypal characters, events, and symbols that it contains. In general, an archetype is a universal, primordial representation of an event or character that is seen as a general blueprint for stories and myths, such as the Hero or Death and Rebirth (Meyer 1587). Archetypes can be very important in identifying and supporting a theme by giving us background and references for aspects throughout the story. Carol Joyce Oates uses a couple vital archetypes in her short story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” a tale about Connie, a teenage girl, who goes through an innocence to experience situation, signifying a transition from childhood to adulthood.
Arnold Friend is an important character in Connie’s story because he is one of the main reasons she goes undergoes a change. In short, while Connie is going through a teenage phase of exploring sexuality, he comes to Connie’s house to take her with the intention of raping her. More importantly he is portrayed with some of devilish appearances and behavior, to stress the idea of the situation Connie has gotten into and the meaning of her transition. The devil archetype is seen as an evil character that embodies devil characteristics as well as tempting the protagonist with things that will ruin their soul. Thesis Statement!!!! Some evidence that Arnold Friend is the devil incarnate are the facts that he does not cross threshold, he seems to be all-knowing and he has to tempt and persuade Connie to leave with him.
First of all, throughout the story, Arnold never crosses the threshold of the house but rather stays around the porch while talking to Connie. This makes the reader wonder if he cannot cross the home’s threshold at all. Some people believe that the devil cannot pass the threshold of your home without an invitation, so it stands by reason here that since Connie did not invite him in he will not be able to do so. Arnold tells Connie that he will not come in after her but will rather wait for her to come out to him (7). He threatens her repeatedly saying, “’soon as you touch that phone I don’t need to keep my promise and can come inside (7).’” Although later she does pick up the phone, Arnold does not come inside but gets her to put it down by persuading her to do so (8). This makes it seem that he was just trying to instill fear in her so that he would not have to deal with her calling the police, if he was not really able to pass the threshold. Due to this barrier Arnold has to use other demonic tricks and deceptions to coax Connie out of the house.
In addition, Arnold Friend seems to be all-knowing when it comes to aspects of Connie’s life. Greg Laurie describes the devil as a sly, smart person, in his article “The Truth About the Devil,” and says that even though Satan does not know everything, he knows how to use what he has to lure you to him. Right...

Loading: Checking Spelling


Read more

How far do you agree with the statement that Amir only saw Hassan as a servant not a friend.

939 words - 4 pages How far do you agree with the statement that Amir only saw Hassan as a servant not a friend.The Kite Runner is a novel that challenges the social status of the Afghan society and the test and sacrifices...

Duddy's strengths and weaknesses: as a businessman, relative and friend ("The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" by Mordecai Richler)

925 words - 4 pages "A man without land is nobody", and with these words, Duddy Kravitz embarked on a pursuit for his own piece of land. Born in the ghetto with a rusty spoon in his mouth and the spark of rebellion about him, Duddy pits himself against the arid and vile environment and rebels against all forms of silver-spooned authority. In his unrelenting quest towards entrepreneurial triumph, his conflicting roles as a businessman, relative and friend...

Analysis of John Gardner's Grendel as being an illustration of the shattered innocent/fallen from grace archetype, as well an accurate depiction of human nature

810 words - 3 pages People believe in things. They believe strongly. And when those beliefs are broken, they often feel personally betrayed by that. This is the idea expressed in John Gardner's Grendel. In this story, Gardner illustrates what...

The Fine Line Between Good and Evil in Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? and A Good Man is Hard to Find”

1138 words - 5 pages Stories usually include the archetype bad guys that seem to be evil, but in numerous stories, the “bad guys” persona becomes clouded. In the short stories, “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor there are centralized antagonists, Arnold Friend and The Misfit, that are the archetype of a bad guy with a troubled past. Both short stories have subliminal messages...

The Devil in Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

1612 words - 6 pages The Devil in Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Her name is Connie, and she is not unlike many girls of the time she lives in. She is vain, she is constantly at war with her family, and she is in an incredible rush to grow up. Her race to maturity is the trait focused on in Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been." It splits Connie into two different personalities: 'One for home, and...

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates

1329 words - 5 pages There are always two sides to every story. The short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”, by Joyce Carol Oates is a prefect example of just that. In this short story, the main character is a fifteen year old girl, named Connie. The young adolescent has two sides to herself; one when she is at home and one when she is out with her friends. When Connie is at home, she acts childlike. However, when she goes out she tries to act like...

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been

1296 words - 5 pages "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" by Joyce Carol Oates “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”, is one of the many short stories written by Mrs. Joyce Carol Oates that has become highly recognized. It was inspired by a magazine story about a serial killer. It quickly it became very popular andwas even the basis for the 1985 hit movie, “SmoothTalk”. Like many other short stories and novels written by Joyce Carol Oates,...

Joyce Carol Oates's "Where are you going, where have you been?

1165 words - 5 pages 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 as a demon tries to pull Connie into the dark world of sex and emotion. Oates seems to...

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates

1311 words - 5 pages Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is a modern interpretation of the classic narrative of evil tempting innocence. Oates’ version of the devil allegory combines this Christian model of temptation with contemporary secular society. Connie is a pretty fifteen year-old girl, beginning the process of maturation into adulthood. She begins to become aware of her ability to act of her own volition, but her naivete...

Arnold Friend

932 words - 4 pages Arnold Friend Arnold Friend is a seductive man, or should I say ArN OLD FrIEND with a dark appearance hiding something deeper, something evil? Arnold, posing as a teen-age boy, is none other than the devil himself, which shows in his words and actions, and in his physical traits. From the very beginning of, Joyce Carol Oates', "Where are you going, Where Have you been?" a certain number of religious references are interspersed throughout....

The Role of the Antagonists in the Short Stories "Where Have You Been, Where are You Going" and "Love in LA"

759 words - 3 pages Like all great stories throughout time, a compelling villain is the key to making a story worthwhile. In short stories like, “Where have you been, where are you going,” and, “Love in LA,” a though provoking antagonist was used by the authors to really give the stories some depth. The antagonist of, “Where have you been…”Arnold Friend takes on the persona of temptation to the protagonist Connie and really emphasizes the theme of be careful what...

One thought on “Arnold Friend Devil Essay Outline

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *