Write about the contradiction between the narrator in "The Cask of Amontillado" and Arnold Friend  in "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?"from "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? -...

Write about the contradiction between the narrator in "The Cask of Amontillado" and Arnold Friend  in "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?"

from "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? - Arnold Friend, and from "The Cask of Amontillado" - the narrator

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two different vantage points from which each story is told. In "The Cask of Amontillado," the narrator is Montresor who has planned the entombment and death of Fortunato, for an insult he perceives—that is never identified. Poe (the author) tells this story in the first person point of view.

In "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?", the point of view is third person limited omniscient: meaning that the narrator tells the story, knowing the thoughts of one character: Connie.

The mood in Poe's short story is set by the narrator: his intent for Fortunato's destruction is evident from the start. He is bent upon Fortunato's "immolation," and we can "hear" Montresor's madness in his narration immediately; it continues to build to the climax of the story when he actually entombs the drunken Fortunato.

On the other hand, the narrator in "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?" does not come out and tell us from the start that Arnold Friend is evil personified. (In case you don't know, Oates based this story on the actual murders of several young girls in Tuscon, Arizona, in the 1960s, at the hands of a seemingly unlikely young man.)

Arnold Friend's evil is hard to pin down at first, and may even be overlooked by some readers. His hypnotic, persistent manner of drawing fifteen-year old Connie into his deadly web only gradually becomes evident. His threats, at first, are quiet and unobtrusive. His unusual manner of speaking and the initial impression of youth he gives confuse Connie's undeveloped instincts that something is very wrong. Even when she realizes he is not so young, and certainly not the person he is trying to portray himself as being, her inexperience prevents Connie from knowing what to do.

Arnold's threats become more direct when he assures her that he won't come into the house unless she calls the police. The reasoning is hard to follow, but the intent becomes through clearly enough.

The similarities between Montresor and  Arnold Friend are that they both lure their victims to their ultimate doom: both victims are unaware of the intent of their murderer. Fortunato is an old acquaintance of Montresor, and he is drunk. Connie is young and naive to the evil in the world.

In the first person narrative by Montresor, the reader immediately knows the ill-intent of the narrator. The narrator in Oates' short story requires that the reader continue to follow the plot development in order to understand the true nature of Arnold Friend.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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