The Not so Friendly, Arnold Friend
When Connie picks up the phone she hears something on the other line, a type of roaring noise that you hear in those scary movies about the devil. Arnold also talks to Connie as if he were saying lyrics from one of her favorite songs knowing how willingly Connie will do anything to fit in with the culture music gives. Arnold Friend tells Connie, “We’ll go out to a nice field, out in the country here where it smells so nice and it’s sunny…I’ll have my arms around you so you won’t need to try to get away and I’ll show you what love is like, what it does” (Oates 628).
He goes on saying sweet things to Connie to make her come out behind the screen door and come over to him, but she does not seem to come to him because of how kind he says his words, but because of the fear that has built up from them. Arnold Friend was almost narrating the next few seconds of he life as if it was now his to claim, “Now come out through the kitchen to me honey and let’s see a smile, try it, you’re a brave sweet little girl. ” And as he said this, “She put out her hand against the screen.
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She watched herself push the door slowly open as if she were safe back somewhere in the other doorway, watching this body and this head of long hair moving out into the sunlight where Arnold Friend waited” (Oates628). Another reason that Arnold Friend gives off a frightening image is that his normal teenager look is the almost “too real” of a look. Arnold Friend is just an image that he knows Connie wants to see in a guy and has seen in a lot of them.
The narrator says, “[Connie] recognized most things about him, the tight shirt, an even that slippery friendly smile of his, that sleepy dreamy smile that all the boys used to get across ideas they didn’t wan to put into word…But all these things did not come together” (Oates 623). Arnold Friend has that look to him that most girls would think is attractive, but at the same time there is something that was not right about him. Arnold left his glasses on for most of the conversation, but when he took them off the skin around his eyes were so pale they made his eyes seem to glow in a supernatural way.
The narrator states, “He took off the sunglasses and she saw how pale the skin around his eyes was, like hold that were not in shadow but instead in light. His eyes were chips of broken glass that catch the light in an amiable way” (Oates 622), making his eyes look like they were glowing like they would on something supernatural. Oates also goes on explaining that after Arnold Friend puts his glasses on top of his head he did it cautiously “as if he were indeed wearing a wig” (Oates 624).
Arnold Friend could be wearing a wig to simply defy his age so Connie will go on a ride with him or also to hide the horns on top of his head, like the devil has. “His whole face was a mask, she thought wildly, tanned down onto his throat but then running out as if he had plastered makeup on his face but had forgotten about his throat. ” (Oates 625). The last reason that Arnold Friend gives off a frightening image is the knowledge he conveys about and with Connie. Arnold Friend frequently tells Connie of his knowledge of her family, neighbors and herself.
When Connie hears Arnold say her name for the first time she tells him that she never said her name and he tells her in response, “But I know what it is. I know your name and all about you, lots of things” (Oates 622). He continues to tell her some of the information he knows about her, “I know your parents and sister are gone somewhere and I know where and how long they’re going to be gone, and I know who you were with last night, and your best girl friend’s name is Betty” (Oates 622).
But Arnold’s knowledge is just facts about Connie’s life and family, Oates also describes his knowledge Connie as if he was there watching these events that Connie’s family is apart of. Arnold Friend says, “Aunt Tillie’s. Right now they’re-uh-they’re drinking. Sitting around,” he said vaguely, squinting as if he were staring all the way to town and over to Aunt Tillie’s backyard. Then the vision seems to get clear and he nodded energetically” (Oates 624). He continues to tell Connie things that a stranger should not know about her and her surroundings.
He talks to Connie about an “Old woman down the road,” and Connie replies that she is dead. Not only does his knowledge of the old woman being Connie’s neighbor portray the devil and give off a frightening vibe to Connie, but also the knowledge of her death as if he were scaring Connie. Arnold slightly even gives Connie a little foreshadowing of her future with him. Through manipulation, image, and knowledge Arnold Friend conveys an image of the evil and the devil and gives off a frightening vibe to Connie.
He tries to hide his true self and give out this image of the typical guy that Connie would be interested. He used that Rock & Roll pop culture to lure in Connie and than used his knowledge to frighten and manipulate her into selling her soul to him. Works Cited Oates, Joyce Carol. “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”? Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. 7th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2010. 615-28. Print.