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...