Arnold Friend Essay

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. These references help to maintain a biblical feeling, as well as to set a path for Friend's entry into the story. They also foreshadow that; powers beyond a human level will be presented. Friend looks like one person in the beginning, but as the story unfolds, he is shown as someone else or something else. In addition, numerous statements in the story prove the fact that Friend is an evil man.
In order to set the mood for Friends evil and devilish personality several religious references are used. The place where Friend appears first, is a typical teenage hangout that the frequents deem as sacred or even as a safe refuge. The music in the background is playing softly like music that one hears at a church. The second place we see Friend is at a young girl's house. The young girl whom Friend appears to be seducing does not attend church, therefore making her much more vulnerable to his evil. During his conversations with this girl, Friend uses the lord's name in vein. He says "goddam" at one point, and "Christ!" at another. (Oates 478). This last curse sounds as though it is forced, whereas the other seems to be more natural for him to say.
Friend may not look very evil in his physical appearance, but his actions bring out this evil in him. Arnold Friend appears to be a typical teen-ager in the beginning of this story but after a brief lapse in time, his true appearance comes to life. He states that he is only eighteen years old but he looks to be at least thirty, possibly even older. "…Friend's much older self begins to emerge through his painted lashes, black wig, reflecting sunglasses, and cosmetically tanned face…" (Creighton 118). He is a short man who in order to stand erect; he must push his shoulders back. At one point, Friend removes his glasses, and reveals his eyes which "…were chips of broken glass that catch the light…" (Oates 474). Friend has a mask-like face that stops when it reaches his neck, almost as if it is painted on to his head. Whenever Friend speaks, his words seem to come out in a singsong style sounding as if he were repeating the lyrics of a...

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