Not Very Friendly

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Arnold Friend: Not Very Friendly Throughout the story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” author Joyce Carol Oates, as highlighted by Nancy Bardense in the article “Connie Turns Fifty: “Where are You Going, Where Have You Been” as Postmodern Experience”, poses several interpretations to the plot, as well as the outcome, of Connie, Arnold Friend, and the fate of the two. Although there are several ways to interpret the story, some key interpretations brought up by Barendse in her article are that Arnold plays a satanic role, that Connie has dreamed it all after falling asleep to the radio, that Arnold is thirty and is a stalker, and that Arnold plans to aid Connie in her transition from child to adult and is her savior. There is no correct way to interpret Arnold Friend and Connie’s fate. This is shown by the vast amounts of different interpretations that have been thought of. However, through evidence of Arnold being old and watching her at the diner, Arnold knowing everything about Connie, and Arnold’s appearance being somewhat fake, the outcome that is most convincing is that Arnold Friend is simply a stalker. In the story, Connie and her friend often sneak their way to the diner without her friend’s father knowing. The purpose of this is to go where the older kids spend time. While there Connie encounters Arnold Friend, who the whole time is staring at her and saying things like “Gonna get you, baby” (Oates, pg. 316). Since we know from later in the story that he is in fact not a “boy with shaggy black hair” (316) but an older man pretending to be young, Arnold Friend’s only purpose to be at the diner is to sit and watch younger girls, and potentially finding a target, things a stalker would take part in. Connie is a young girl who is being raised by careless parents, and is doing what any young teenager would do. She sneaks away to do things with
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