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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 hinting towards the devil. But if you start reading deeper you can see that’s not all they are portrayed, as seen in the short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, the Misfit could also be portrayed as an archetype as a savior or a seer that has lost his way, although in “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? “, Arnold Friend could be portrayed as a satyr, a mischievous demi god. While it can be argued that both characters are completely evil or not, they both have similar and their own personal qualities like the need to inflict pain upon others although they go about it in different ways.
In the story “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” Arnold Friend is depicted as the antagonist of the book, trying to seduce Connie into going with him on a ride. He could be shown as an evil person, intent on doing harm to Connie, by the way Oates wrote the book, you can almost feel the frustration building up in him as Connie keeps telling him no, “[Arnold Friend] wobbled again and out of the side of his mouth came a fast spat curse, an aside not meant for [Connie] to hear. But even this "Christ!" sounded forced. Then he began to smile again. She watched this smile come, awkward as if he were smiling from inside a mask.’’ Arnold’s demon like identity can be seen when Connie shouts “Christ, Christ” and “Who the hell do you think you are?” hinting he is other worldly or a spawn hell. Connie perception of Arnold Friend’s name ensures her that he is a friend, but if you drop the Rs, it becomes “an old fiend” hinting to the source of all evil. As same as Connie’s named suggesting she can be conned, which Arnold Friend uses to his advantage toward the end of the story.
While Arnold is most commonly depicted as the devil or a demonic figure, with a deeper understanding of the story, one can be lead to believe Arnold could be a satyr, a mischievous Greek demi-god, similar to the devil though just not as evil. Arnold’s friend, Ellie Oscar’s name closely resembles Eleos (sometimes spelled E’leos), which is the Greek god of mercy and pity. With this information it is further to conclude that Arnold Friend being a satyr is further supported. Further evidence can be provided when Connie describes the way he looks, “[Arnold Friend] placed his sunglasses on top of his head, carefully, as if he were indeed wearing a wig…”, indicating that he is wearing a wig to cover up his pointed ears and horns. Then with the way his boots fit him, “One of [Arnold Friend] boots was at a strange angle, as if his foot wasn't in it. It...

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