The Role of the Antagonists in the Short Stories "Where Have You Been, Where are You Going" and "Love in LA"

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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, …show more content…
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 they in fact be the hooves of the devil? Even though Jake wasn’t portrayed as the devil in, “Love in LA,” he could still be a biblical character. “ He made up a last name and address and wrote down the name of an insurance company an old girlfriend once belonged to.”(63) Like the biblical snake in the Garden of Eden, Jake showcases his sly, untrustworthy side. Both of the characters take on the personas of temptation and mischief to finally get what they want in the end of their stories.

In addition to having an underlying biblical meaning, both stories