A Maxquerading Friend In Oates's "where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

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A Masquerading Friend in Oates's "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" In her short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Joyce Carol Oates weaves a story of deception, tragedy and even heroism when the protagonist, Connie, lets herself be abducted by Arnold Friend in order to keep her family safe. Arnold seems to be young and tall when Connie first meets him, but it soon becomes apparent that he is neither young nor tall. For many reasons, Arnold is not what he seems to be. So who or what is Arnold Friend? To close in on the answer to this question, we need to scrutinize Arnold's actions and his appearance.

The description of Connie's chance meeting with Arnold at the drive-in foreshadows the danger that is coming. When Arnold stares at Connie, "[wags] a finger and [laughs] and [says], "˜Gonna get you, baby" (Oates 446), it sets the stage for the events that follow when Connie is at home alone.

As Arnold's old jalopy pulls up into Connie's drive that fateful day, we wonder how he found her house, and why is he following her. He is dressed like a teenager because he wants Connie to think that he is young. This masquerade of being Connie's friend is all a hoax used to get her to go for a ride with him. But Connie soon begins to realize that "he [isn't] a kid, he [is] much older--thirty, maybe more" (Oates 451). She also realizes that his friend, Ellie, is older than he first appears when he turns and she sees his face: "the face of a forty-year-old baby" (Oates 451).

Whenever Connie asks Arnold just how old he is, the cat is out of the bag. Arnold now realizes that she is suspicious...