If Arnold Friend is meant to symbolize the devil or some form of Anti-Christ figure, who is Ellie?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That's a very good question. I certainly interpret Arnold Friend as an antichrist (opposite of Christ) figure. One might even say that he is satanic. The Bible tells us that Satan can appear as "a very angel of light." The first time Connie sees Friend, she thinks he is nice-looking. It is only when she gets a closer that she notices he's older than she thought, that he's wearing a wig, and that his boot is stuffed to make him appear taller. If you remove the "r" from his name, you even get "Fiend."

Who is Ellie Oscar? Perhaps he represents the devil's minions. Maybe he's there because he is creepy, and Friend can use that creepiness to his advantage as if to say, "You don't want to get him mad. Look at how much nicer I am."

Some critics have made much of numerology in the story, with the fact that Arnold Friend and Ellie Oscar and Connie all have 6 letters in their names--three people, three sixes, 666. And there is still no definite answer as to what Friend means by 33, 19, 17 (though see my answer to an earlier question, linked below).

Regardless of any link to a real person or being, it is safe to say the Ellie Oscar represents evil.

ajslam | Student
Ahh. It may be true that he is evil but there are two plays on words. Take out all the r's and you get A nold F iend but note his initial A. Friend
dubman | Student
I think he was a predator. Like Chris said. He was wearing a different sized boot.
chrisgolez | Student

Has anyone ever thought of Arnold Friend as an experienced predetor?

rkt11 | Student

We just finished this story today and we discussed who or what symbolizes Arnold Friend and our class came up with the devil because hes tempting Connie and telling her to come with him even though she isnt supposed too.

midnitesyn | Student


take out the R's and your left with  ANOLD FIEND

an old fiend.

if he wasnt the devil/evil why was he stumblin in his boots as often as he was?

emmly | Student

not trynna be rude..but..to the teacher...linda allen... ellie oscar does not have six letters in either name. so really it's only two sixes. it still pertains to the point in that arnold friend has 6 letters in both names. perhaps you meant arnold, friend, and connie all have six letters. not sure, cause that doesn't really work either because you'd be leaving out ellie. idk, but just thought i'd point that out to you in case you teach it in class. didn't want you to have to hear it from a student in front of the whole class :)

highschooler09 | Student

As for the numbers; 33, 19, 17

33+19+17= 690

3+3+1+9+1+7= 24

Subtract 24 from 690 it's "666" a sign of the devil

or you can do;

The 18 letter in the alphabet is "R" take the "R's" from ARNOLD FRIEND and it is "AN OLD FIEND" and the devil is known to be the oldest fiend.

Uhm another clue is Age 33 is the year Jesus was crusifed.

Some people think 33+19+17 = 69 which can mean the sexual way, or the ying and yang symbol.

In the old testament Judges 19:17 The title is 'I know where you've, i know where your going' which is what Arnold friend told Connie in the story.

jabronie1000 | Student

Arnold Friend is definitely seen as the Devil, with all of the symbolism and satanic characteristics, and since Ellie happens to be with him everyone automatically things that he is like a demon or something. Ellie is God. Just as in life, Satan is always trying to make us go and do bad things, but we have the choice to go to God, as he will only steer us in the right direction. Arnold is constantly putting Ellie down during the story, showing rivalry. Arnold also says the he is the boy for Connie, and that Ellie is just a creep and to not worry about him. Several times Ellie even attempts to help Connie, asking her if he should bring out the phone so she can call the police. Which I think is misconcepted as Ellie asking Arnold about the phone, but Ellie never says any names. Arnold and Ellie are both old, and even both wearing sun glasses, as to observe the whole world at once and not focus on one person, which Arnold does when he is trying to get Connie to come outside to him. The fact the Ellie and Arnold are together in the car shows that God and Satan are close in this world, and that there is constantly the choice between good and evil. I don't beleive that Ellie was masterbating at the end of the story when Arnold says: "Put that away. Didn't i tell you? You dope, you misrable creepy dope." Honestly I am not sure what is happening, but that is just about the only thing i can't interpret.


richiefeefs | Student

Well, what I have noticed is that Ellie is supposedly wearing a popped collar, maybe representing a former rock idol? Charles Shmidt, the killer Arnold Friend is based on was a huge fan of Elvis, often wearing a popped collar and other fashion styles "The King" would wear. That's one theory. If it comes to the Devil theory, Ellie is just his companion. Of course Arnold Friend can be translated into "A nold F iend" if you take away certain letters, but Ellie shows now such coincidence. On his car, the term "Man the Flying Saucers" Contains enough letters and more to spell out "HESATANLUCIFER" with a couple remaining letters. The part with the shoes can be interpreted that he has a goats hoof, just like Satan(A.K.A. My sister). That's all I have observed so far. And the part with the numbers. I'm not very religious but if you follow the numbers through the old testament, the passage reads "And he asked him: Where are you going, Where art thou coming from" (pretty sure that's what my teacher said)

davidc526 | Student

Arnold Friend, as many have stated before, can be interpretted as a "devil" figure in this story. However, another interpretation exists that explains Arnold, Ellie, and Connie's association with one another. This involves looking at these characters as representations of Greek Mythology. In this, Arnold become a satyr, as is Ellie, and Connie becomes a nymph. Arnold fits here because of his problems with his boots, as well as his afinity for music everywhere he goes, and, finally, in that satyrs were famous for seducing and raping the young women in their paths. Additionally, satyrs always travelled in pairs, hence Ellie. Connie comes in as a nymph because they were the favorite prey of satyrs as they could be easily lured with music. This is an incomplete explanation here due to space constraints, but I would encourage you to research satyrs and nymphs for a greater understanding of the reading I am proposing. Thanks for the great question!!

legand734 | Student

take out the r in Arnold Freind and it is an old freind which is what some people call the devil because he was also the first person to befreind man and 33-19-17 is a bible verse and the title is Wgere are you going where have you been he says he is 18 6+6+6=18 his car is gold gold is supposed to be a divine color associated with gods . and he doesnt fit his boots the devil is supposed to have goat legs that suggest that arnold has them to i literally have pages of these 

clar1401 | Student

Arnold is the sort of guy who has the ability to combine romance and violence, and perhaps that's the reason why Connie is so taken with him. By the way, have you noticed the play on words of his name (A fiend)? Yes, people do interpret this character as the "devil in disguise," and if so then could his friend Ellie be viewed as a demon because is such a loyal and evil follower?

At first, Ellie looks like the type of guy who could do no harm. He's quiet and just hangs around in the background. But later in the story, the reader see him become a little more violent: he has a weapon and pulls it out, and scares Connie when he threatens to stop her from using the phone to call for help. 

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