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The Role Of The Antagonists In The Short Stories "Where Have You Been, Where Are You Going" And "Love In La"

759 words - 3 pages

Like all great stories throughout time, a compelling villain is the key to making a story worthwhile. In short stories like, “Where have you been, where are you going,” and, “Love in LA,” a though provoking antagonist was used by the authors to really give the stories some depth. The antagonist of, “Where have you been…”Arnold Friend takes on the persona of temptation to the protagonist Connie and really emphasizes the theme of be careful what you wish for. Connie was a young girl who repeatedly met up with older more mature boys; but one day Arnold Friend arrives at her house and coerces her to leave with him. The story abruptly stops there leaving the reader hoping for more. The antagonist of, “Love in LA”, Jake, an unemployed dreamer, meets the heroine of the story, Marianna, when he mistakenly hits her car on the freeway. From there, he proceeds to lie and do whatever it takes to make himself look better, and go out with Marianna. Both of these antagonists are similar in that both could have some underlying biblical meaning or connotation, both hit on younger, seemingly “innocent” women, and finally both try to impress girls with things such as cars or false promises; yet their means of doing these actions were quite different. Arnold could be the Devil, while Jake could be the snake, and Arnold resorted to premeditated stalking to win over Connie while Jake just unexpectedly met Marianna, and finally Arnold tried to coerce Connie to come with him by promising her love and cars, etc.. and Jake just flat out lied to win over Marianna.

When first reading the book, “Love in LA”, the name Jake seemed reminiscent of snake, and snake could loosely be connected to the story of Adam and Eve, or temptation. Now many could also argue that in,”Where have you been…”, the character Arnold Friend could in fact be the devil himself. While describing Arnold Friend, the author said, “ One of his boots was at a strange angle. It pointed out at the left, bent at the ankle.” (pg 90) In most depictions of the devil, the character usually has hooves, so instead of feet stuffed oddly into his boots, could...

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