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Devil In Disguise

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Hannah Mumma English 113 Devil in Disguise "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates is a story about a young fifteen year old girl named Connie who knows she is very pretty. She often will check her reflection in mirrors and check other people's faces to see what they thought of hers. She has a rocky relationship with her critical mother; she has the nonattendant father, and the plain sister. Connie's parents seem to have no idea where she really goes at night, or who she spends her time with. Therefore, when Connie really needs her mother to pay attention and help her, she is not there. The symbols of Arnold Friend, his disguise, and the music that runs through the story contribute to an overall feeling of devilishness, trickery, and unease. Arnold Friend could be seen as the devil incarnate. ...read more.


Arnold gold car symbolizes Connie's greed and vanity. The phrase on his car, "Done by a crazy woman driver," (513) makes Connie laugh because it is supposed to make children feel at ease. The other phrase painted on Arnold's car, "Man the flying saucers," (515) is referred to as being 'used by kids the year before.' Arnold's car is an important part of his disguise: he tries to appeal to the younger generation. But, Connie can see past his disguise for the most part and has the feeling of uneasiness around him. The reader feels more tension as he progresses through the story and comes upon these pieces of Arnold's Devilish disguise. The final theme that runs throughout the story is music, particularly the music Connie listens to. It appears she is always "hearing music in her head" (510). The music is "always in the background" and "something to depend upon" (511) ...read more.


She turns on the radio near the middle of the story, after her family has left the house. The room is filled with "hard, fast, shrieking songs she sang along with" (513) and her heart begins beating quickly. Arnold suddenly pulls in to the driveway, his radio tuned to the same radio station. The music behind Arnold is "perpetual" (515) and symbolizes the danger that Connie has brought upon herself. In the beginning of the story, the reader feels immune to the fast music because Connie is a reckless teenager and the reader associates fast music with Connie. However, when Arnold Friend comes into the picture with his fast music and alarm goes off in the reader's head. Oates uses a great number of symbols in her short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? to create an aura of unease and Devilishness. Her main symbols are Arnold Friend, his disguise, and the music Connie listens to. Oates' use of symbolism forces the reader to be suspicious of the character of Arnold Friend and the condemned future of Connie. ...read more.

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