How does Arnold Friend appear devil-like in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Arnold Friend could be seen as a devil- like figure through his appearance.  On one hand, Friend's appearance is one where he wishes to look younger than he actually is.  The duplicity here feed the idea of him being devil- like because of the temptation element.  In seeking to lure another, the devil would appear to be something he is not.  In this case, Friend's use of makeup and style helps to make him appear "hip" or "cooler" than he really might be.  The use of fashion and his yellow jalopy also help to convey that he might be devil- like, as the use of flash and a stylistic chariot helps to convey this.  The "X" as his symbol is kind of devilish in its intent, something that communicates threat and fear.  The fact that Arnold speaks to Connie in such a comforting and connective way and then turns to threats in order to get what he wants can be another instance where his devil- like nature is revealed.  For Arnold, what is not gained through flattery is gained through coercion.  At the same time, the entire atmosphere communicated in the ending that going with Arnold is akin to Connie entering a world of void or emptiness is another element in which some aspect of a darker world is communicated.  In these instances, Arnold Friend can be seen as an example of the devil.

suramene | Student

Everything about Arnold Friend is manufactured for the purpose of entrancing his target, Connie. Connie explicitly likes the way Arnold looks in his clothes, and that helps to keep Connie attracted to Arnold when she otherwise may not be. All of this is a superficial guise. Whenever Arnold stands or walks, he has to "stand in a strange way" and constantly balance himself to keep from falling. He even looks down at his boots "as if he were offended" when Connie says she doesn't recognize him. His feet are the only parts of his figure that are kept hidden, and the boots seem to give him some sort of confidence to continue his ruse. This suggests that, perhaps, Arnold Friend's feet are inhuman and don't quite fill out the boots he walks in. If Arnold Friend is thought of as a demonic figure, the implication here would be that he, like traditional Christian depictions of devils, has hooved bovine feet. Further, Connie notices that Arnold's hair is like a wig, his "whole face was a mask" made of make-up, and he is far older than the teenager he poses as. In fact, even his name may be another cover of his true nature. If one removed the Rs from Arnold's name, he would be "An old Fiend." Fiend is a synonym for a devil.


Arnold is a predator, but he seems to want to make Connie come to him rather than just take her. He is a type of corruption, and he has almost supernatural insight. Arnold specifically says "he knows everybody." Despite this, Connie is unsure of if she'd ever seen him before. He knows more than he should about Connie, including her name, address, and the whereabouts of her family. Connie can't help but realize that everything about Arnold Friend, from his appearance to his mannerisms to his speech patterns don't really make sense. From all this, one could see Arnold as a devil in a human form tailored to lure Connie away from home.

Of course, all this is based on interpretation of the text. Nothing explicitly states Arnold Friend is anything other than human. The text only supports the idea that Arnold is not what he seems, but how deeply that goes depends on how one pieces together what is presented. 

aisrah | Student

speech-Verbally forces connie to leave the house. 

looks-appears young but when connie took a close look at him she saw that he looked much older. Something was wrong with his feet.

thoughts- he knew exactly where connie's family was. 

actions- tries getting connie to leave the house and come with him.

effect on others- tricks connie to leave with him

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