Temptation in Where Are You Going , Where Are you Been? Essay

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The Theme of Temptation in “Where Are You Going , Where Are you Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates

In “Where are You Going, Where Have you Been?” Joyce Carol Oates uses an allegorical figure of evil to illustrate the theme of temptation. Oates alludes to hell through the character Arnold Friend, as the devil, and his victim Connie, who invites him in by committing the sin of vanity.

The narrator implies that Arnold Friend is Satan by giving certain clues that the reader can easily deduce. The name that Oates gives to the character is one hint to the reader: “Connie looked away from Friend's smile to the car, which was painted so bright it almost hurt her eyes to look at it. She looked at the name, Arnold Friend. She looked at it for a while
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Besides Arnold Friend physical appearance, which makes the reader assume that his character is not a human being, Oates gives him supernatural powers that a normal person could not have. One example of this is the power that he has over Connie; he knows everything that involves her: “ 'Just for a ride, Connie sweetheart.' Arnold Friend says. 'I never said that my name was Connie, she said.' And he replies: 'But I know what it is. I know your name and all about you, a lots of things, Arnold Friend said' ”(584-585). The security of Arnold Friend words gives to reader the impression that he has been watching her closely and all the time without her knowing it or noticing it. This confirms the reader’s hypothesis that Friend's is Satan. Moreover, when Connie tries to hide from him in her house, Arnold manipulates her into leaving the house simply by telling her what to do, like a puppeteer and his puppet: “You won’t want your family to get hurt. Now get up all by yourself. Now turn this way. That’s right. Come over here to me. Now come out through the kitchen to me honey and let’s see a smile, try it, you are brave sweet little girl”(591). Oates makes the reader infer that Satan’s only way to make her comes out is by using his demon powers, because the devil cannot get into your house unless you have invited him in. Therefore, he uses his