23 December 2014
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
After reading, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates several times, multiple connections have been made implying that Arnold Friend is Satan. The title itself can be found in the Bible, Judges 19:17 reads, “and he lifted up his eyes and saw the traveler in the open square of the city; and the old man said, “where are you going, and where do you come from?”(King James Version, Judges 19:17). Is this directly connected to Arnold Friend, along with other implications suggesting that he is, in fact, Satan?
In the beginning of the story, Connie is described as beautiful and maybe even self absorbed. She seems self conscious at the same time. Oates described her as, “was fifteen and she had a quick, nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right,”(199). She was notorious for going out with her best friend and staying out later than a fifteen year old girl should. She was also very quick to leave with a boy she had just met. Arnold Friend saw this, and realized that it made her an easy target, well on her way to where he wanted her to be. On her way to leave with this boy, Eddie, Connie makes eye contact with Arnold Friend, a man she did not know. She quickly turned away but can't stop herself from looking back at him. When she looks back, he waves his finger at her and says, “gonna get you baby,” (Carol 201), with a wide smile on his face. The look he gives her and his laugh implies that he is pleased with what she is doing, and that he will see her at a later time. Seeing that she is sinning is enough to temporarily satisfy him.
As the story continues, Connie goes home and wakes up the next morning, Sunday, and proceeds to skip going to church. Her family was to attend a barbeque that day, but Connie was uninterested and decided to stay home by herself. Arnold Friend showed up at her house unexpectedly, and Connie had no idea who he was but vaguely recognized him. When Arnold pulled into the driveway, he said to Connie, “I ain’t late, am I?” (Oates 202), which conveys to the reader that he had planned on showing up since he saw Connie leaving with Eddie. Connie told him several times that she didn’t know who he was. She spoke to him in a way that sounded uninterested. The more they conversed, she started showing more interest and emotion. When he asked her to join him for a ride, she was playful in the beginning saying this such as, “why should I?”(Oates 203). This quickly turned into a, “where’re we going?”(Oates 204). Arnold was very friendly at first but quickly became impatient, manipulative and persuasive without Connie even realizing.
Connie did not realize what Arnold was doing, but this is the point in the story where the demonic tendencies came into play. The first sign that strikes the reader is that Arnold knows Connie's name without her telling him what it was. This struck Connie as peculiar and she responded suspiciously, “how do you know what my name is?” (Oates 204). She later responded to him calling her by name with, “I never said my name was Connie,” (Oates 204). He responds, “But I know what it is. I know your name and all about you, lots of things,” (Oates 204). He was also able to tell her the name of her best friend and several other people that she knew. When Connie questioned him about the information he had given her, he responded with, “I know everybody,” (Oates 205). This implies that he can see everyone and can see what they are doing.
When Connie finally saw his face, she thought he looked like he was wearing very thick make-up or maybe even a mask. Arnold was obviously trying to disguise what he really looked like when he pulled up in her driveway with sunglasses covering most of his face. When he took the sunglasses off, his eyes were described as being