What do you think Arnold Friend symbolizes in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

Arnold Friend could be said to symbolize the devil. Like the devil, he's superficially friendly and charming, but in actual fact turns out to be the incarnation of evil. Arnold's physical traits, as well as his behavior towards Connie, point towards his representing the devil himself.

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Arnold Friend symbolizes the exact opposite of what his name implies: he represents danger, potential pedophilia, and the end of life as Connie knows it.

We get to know Connie as a typical vain teenager, who enjoys looking at herself in the mirror and hanging out with her friends. As...

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Arnold Friend symbolizes the exact opposite of what his name implies: he represents danger, potential pedophilia, and the end of life as Connie knows it.

We get to know Connie as a typical vain teenager, who enjoys looking at herself in the mirror and hanging out with her friends. As is the case with most teenagers, she is oblivious to the dangers which she brings into her life, and together with her friends, they regularly go to a local drive-in rather than the mall, where their parents think they are. It is here that she first encounters the creepy Arnold Friend, so it could also be argued that his character represents rebellion in this story.

Friend, who is described as a "boy with shaggy black hair" comes across straight away as unkempt and a potential source of trouble. When he arrives at her house, despite her never having told him her name or where she lives, she heads outside to speak to him rather than immediately calling the police. I would therefore also argue that Arnold Friend symbolizes childlike naivete in our protagonist, Connie.

For Connie, Arnold Friend represents a future fraught with danger, possible enslavement, and seemingly almost inevitable rape. He represents the series of poor decisions that she made to lead herself into this predicament.

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Despite his name, Arnold Friend is certainly no friend to Connie. But then, he's no friend to humankind in general. That's because he symbolizes the devil, the arch-fiend and corrupter of humanity. At first, Arnold, in true Satanic fashion, comes across as friendly, charismatic, and somewhat attractive.

However, it isn't very long before he shows his true face, the face of evil. Once the mask of bonhomie has dropped, Arnold starts threatening Connie's family if she refuses to get into his car with him. Arnold's claim that he knows a lot about Connie is sinister in the extreme, indicating the kind of omniscience traditionally attributed in old folk tales to the Prince of Darkness.

It's not just Arnold's unpleasant behavior that identifies him as the personification of evil. His physical appearance is also a bit of a giveaway. There's something suitably devilish about his shaggy black hair, not to mention his ugly big teeth.

When Arnold says “Don't you know who I am?” to the frightened Connie, we immediately feel that this is something that the Devil would say. He's clearly not a normal human being by the name of Arnold Friend; his real name has much more sinister, much less friendly connotations.

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Arnold Friend symbolizes the evil in the world that preys on vulnerability. Despite many warning signs, Connie's youth and vanity get the best of her when Arnold comes to her house after they see each other while Connie is on her date with Ernie. Because Connie is in a boy-crazy stage of life, Arnold's presence at her house flatters her, despite the obvious signs of Arnold's oddness and his creepy manner. To make matters worse, she is bored and resistant to doing what's expected of her, and Arnold is interesting, even if his personality seems a bit off.

By the end of the story, Connie is rightfully scared of everything Arnold represents. Though Connie seems to know that she should call the police, she has already gone too far by entertaining Arnold and feeding his arrogance. Her weakness becomes apparent, and she gives in to her fear and inexperience. Arnold, the ultimate sexual predator, calls Connie what she is, a little girl, and she goes to him, powerless in her vulnerability.

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I think looking at the time Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been was published is helpful for some additional understanding! The story was published in 1966 at a time when teen culture in America had changed—and was continuing to change—a lot. The phrase "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" was coined in Life magazine in 1969. The phrase refers to "the counterculture" of the 1960s finding "its sacraments in sex, drugs, and rock and roll." This, and second-wave feminism, meant that there was a lot of anxiety about teen girls becoming sexually active earlier and engaging in behaviors traditionally frowned upon for girls and women. In this historical context, it seems Arnold Friend is not simply evil (though he certainly is); Perhaps he represents the pressure Connie is facing to become an adult woman sooner—pressure that comes from both sexism, misogyny, and the rapidly changing American teen culture of the 1960s.

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I think he is a typical satanic villain. I think #4 above was right in the first analysis, that the name is a play on "An old fiend", implying that it is very possible that he is Satan incarnate. In thinking back to his description, he had wobbly feet in old boots suggesting that he has cloven feet.

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He is pure evil, plain and simple. The apostle Paul said that Satan seeks to charm us and can even appear as an "angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). At first, Connie is attracted to Arnold, but she learns that underneath his outward attractiveness lies an ugly and dangerous soul.

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Great discussion board question!

Arnold Friend represents the bad in society, yes.  He is truly evil, so you could definitely classify him as such.  He is manipulative, calculated, and clear in his evil motives.  He is able to manipulate poor Connie with his trancelike words.  When he speaks to her, he really does come across as this Charles Manson-type of character, one who is able to gain control of his victims.  Enotes states that:

Many critics have suggested that Arnold Friend is the devil in disguise. He has trouble balancing on his small feet—hooves?—and the make-up on his face makes him look younger than he really his.
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