Arnold Friend

1045 Words 5 Pages
“Where are you going, Where have you been?” by Joyce Carol Oates, is not a clear-cut story. There are many ways to interpret what is happening because of how complex and sophisticated the scenes are. To summarize what happened briefly in the story is that the main character Connie is being stalked by this guy named Arnold. He follows her first when she’s on a date with this guy named Eddie and then backs to her house when her parents are away at a barbeque. Arnold, asks her to come with him in his car, she refuses, try’s to call the police, he enters the house and something happens that is not clear but she ends up leaving with him in the end. The point of this short story is to show how stalkers through the use of fear, psychological abuse …show more content…
We actually don’t know if he is real or a vision of Connie’s imagination. Either way he definitely makes a lasting impression on her. Arnold recognizes that he can use fear to get Connie to do what he wants. He first starts to install fear in Connie when he sees her on her date with Eddie. By waiting in the parking lot, waiting for her to walk by and creepily saying “Gonna get you, baby” (8 paragraph) he immediately shows his dominance as an older man and puts a fearful image in Connie’s head of his face as well as his gold convertible. Later in the story, when Arnold pulls into Connie’s driveway in the same car she immediately becomes scared due to what happened earlier. Arnold then uses fear again by calling her by her first name, telling her that he knows who her friends are and saying that he knows where her parents are and what they are doing at that exact moment. Connie becomes scared runs inside and closes the door. Arnold tells her that he’s going to hurt her family if she calls the police. By doing this Arnold has taken grasp of Connie again and has left her no choice but to go with him and do what he …show more content…
Connie throughout the story shows contrasting personalities by acting differently when at home and when she’s out with boys. Oates portrays this idea through this passage in the story: “Everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home: her walk, which could be childlike and bobbing, or languid enough to make anyone think she was hearing music in her head; her mouth, which was pale and smirking most of the time, but bright and pink on these evenings out; her laugh, which was cynical and drawling at home . . . but high-pitched and nervous anywhere else . . . “ (5). Arnold recognizes how she is not secure with her identity and decides to use it to his advantage. Connie at home appears to be immature and childish with her sister. On the other hand when she is out with the boys she seems confident and mature. Throughout the story she is struggling with who she is and who she wants to be which makes her an easy target for Arnold.
What I think Oates is trying to show in this story is a combination of things. First is that insecurity and not having a sense of true self worth can be dangerous. I think that she was making this point by showing how easily someone who she does not know nor trust could manipulate Connie. June, Connie’s sister, seems to have everything together and be successful and have a sense of who she is as a person. I think Oates strategically placed

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