Arnold As The Devil In "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

744 words - 3 pages

Interpretation of Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

The story Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates is about a fifteen year old girl named Connie who has a strange encounter with a man named Arnold Friend. I agree with Joyce M. Wegs' interpretation of the story, that Arnold is symbolic of Satan.

Connie first encounters Arnold in a parking lot while she is out with her friends, but she does not yet know who he is. She notices him standing near his car, a gold colored convertible jalopy, staring at her. When she walks by he says he is going to "get" her, but Connie does not think anything of it and just turns away.

One Sunday, not too long after the parking lot incident, Connie is home alone listening to the radio. She hears a car coming up her driveway and when it gets closer she sees that it is a gold jalopy, but she does not remember having seen the car before. She is concerned about how her hair looks because she has just washed it. She goes to her door and as the boy (at this point Connie thinks that he is around her age) approaches, she recognizes him as the boy from the parking lot. He tells Connie that his name is Arnold Friend. He has a friend in the car who is playing a radio tuned to the same station to which Connie had been listening. Arnold starts a conversation by talking about the radio station DJ.

The fact that Arnold is wearing mirror sunglasses makes Connie somewhat uncomfortable because she cannot tell exactly what he is looking at. Arnold asks Connie to go for a ride with him and his friend, and she declines. He keeps talking though, and after a while he calls her by name. Connie is confused by this since she had not told him her name. This is the first indication that something about this situation is not right, although Connie does not yet realize it. She looks at the car and notices the phrase "Man the flying saucers" (158) painted on it; an expression that the kids had used the previous year but not this year. This is another indication that something about Arnold is not right,...

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