Please compare and contrast in Oates's and Poe's stories:Arnold Friend in Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”and the narrator in Edgar Allen Poe’s “Cask of...

Please compare and contrast in Oates's and Poe's stories:

Arnold Friend in Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”and the narrator in Edgar Allen Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado”

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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While Joyce Carol Oates's "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" treats the subject of a young teenage girl' superficial and rebellious behavior and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" chronicles the plan of revenge of a man, there are many similarities to the two stories as they recount tales of gothic horror. Here are some commonalities and differences between the two narratives:

EVIL INTENT AND DECEPTION

  • Montesor feigns the desire for Fortunato's expert opinion on his new wine
  • Arnold Friend pretends to be younger and acts at first like the other boys to whom Connie speaks
  • Poe's Montesor intends revenge upon Fortunato who, supposedly, has subjected him to "a thousand injuries." 
  • He lures Fortunato on the pretext of tasting the Amontillado wine. 
  • Oates's Arnold Friend takes advantage of a teen's naivete, choosing her for his victim in a malicious plan of seduction. 
  • (contrast) However, there seems no motivation other than evil for Friend's kidnapping of Connie than for Montesor's luring of Fortunato to his death.

USE OF SYMBOLS

  • In Oates's story, music is symbolic as popular music exerts a strong, seductive influence upon Connie. 
  • The secret code of numbers on Arnold Friend's car may be pertinent Bible verses. 
  • There is a religious suggestion to Arnold Friend, whose name without the Rs spells An old Fiend
  • He has trouble walking in his boots as though he is a hoofed animal
  • In Poe's story, the Montresor catacombs are significant; the bones lying "promiscuously,"suggesting death.
  • The trowel, symbolic of the brickmason is waved by Montesor in mockery of Fortunato's inquiry about his being a Mason.
  • The Montesor coat of arms suggests how Montesor will crush his victim, Fortunato

PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR

  • Poe's story follows the classical gothic genre with the irrational main character, the dark setting of the catacombs, the masque of the Carnival, and the use of the macabre.  All of this contributes to the horror, but none so much as the walling in of Fortunato who cries out, laughs, and then becomes silent in his psychological terror.
  • Oates's story is Southern Gothic in which the normal environment becomes dangerous because of the psychological terror.  There is a believable character in a realistic setting, who is then subjected to psychological horror.
  • (contrast) Arnold Friend employs emotional intimidation as well as psychological, threatening Connie what will happen to her mother and sister if she does not come with him.
  • (contrast) Montesor employs physical violence as well as psychological terror when he chains his enemy. He does warn his victim before taking such advantage of him.

 

 

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