Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been

909 Words Feb 4th, 2016 4 Pages
“I know everybody." These are some of the first words spoken by Arnold Friend in the short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”. The impact of these words on the reader will vary based on how one approaches them. To some, they may be the soul of mundanity, with little to no significance or weight apart from some arrogance on the part of Arnold. To others, they may be indicative a deeper, much darker, reality within the story. Some critics have ventured to declare Arnold Friend as being the embodiment of Satan. Many before me have expounded upon the evidences as to Arnold’s demonic nature. With that in mind, however, I would like to approach this idea from a different perspective. Are there any truths apparent regarding Arnold when one reads between the lines, assesses the main characters’ psychological makeup, or breaks down their motivations? Let us find out. To me, the previously mentioned quote from Arnold helps to support the popular interpretation as to his true identity in more ways than one. The uneasy air to those words, and the casualness with which they are spoken, are reflective of the nature of him who spoke them. Arnold Friend, in his nagging conversation/banter between Connie and he, is in his natural element, one in which he flippantly claims omniscience in regards to people. One critic’s idea as it pertains to this lengthy and pivotal conversation is as follows: “Oates sets up the framework of a religious allegory— the seduction of Eve”…
Open Document