Devil In Disguise

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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In the short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" Joyce Carol Oates shows a clear resemblance of a devil-figure in the Character Arnold Friend. Oates shows this resemblance in a number of ways such as the way he looks, his actions, his deceitfulness, and the way he talks to Connie, the other character. I will concentrate on these main key points to prove that Arnold Friend is not just a devil-figure, but literally the devil in disguise.

Oates describes Arnold as having "shaggy, shabby black hair that looked crazy as a wig" (448) and dressed in "tight faded jeans stuffed into black, scuffed boots"¦and a white pull-over shirt that was a little soiled". (449) She characterized his nose as "long and hawklike". (449) Oates uses the color black several times and black is a symbol of evil demonic things, which are traits of the devil.

She also says his hair resembles a wig more than once in the story. In our description of the devil we see the devil as having horns. The wig could be a cover-up or disguise for the horns of the devil. Plus we see the devil having a pointy nose and hawklike is an illustration of pointy. The long nose could also symbolize lying or dishonesty.