Friend Or Foe

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Arnold "“ Friend or Ultimate Foe? Joyce Carol Oates' story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" is certainly a tale of conflict between good and evil. Though the story's protagonist, Connie, may not always be viewed as good, I believe Arnold Friend not only represents but personifies pure evil. Who could warp the mind of a young lady who is obviously afraid of him, making her believe she is actually doing the right thing? None better than the Prince of Thieves.

There are certain details in the story that point to the fact that Arnold Friend is indeed Satan himself. For instance, there is a scene where Arnold looks across the fields toward town and tells Connie what is going on at the picnic her family went to. I believe the Devil is actually seeing what is going on at the picnic at that time. This would point to the omnipresence of Satan, who is second in power only to God himself.

Another clue is given by Arnold's habitual hangouts. The Bible warns us that Satan will come to people where they are most comfortable, most vulnerable. This is why Satan hangs out where his victims hang out. The kids would not expect anyone other than people like themselves to be there. What better place for the Devil to catch them with their guards down? The fact that Arnold talks to Connie's friends about her is another hint to who he really is, in that they probably know, or at least suspect, his intentions. However, they tell no one, not even Connie, belying a power that Arnold, or Satan, obviously holds over them as well.

Arnold's actions at Connie's house also shed light on his true identity. The Devil, for instance, has hooves on...



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