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Manipulation of the Misguided

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Silken Weinberg Ms. Schmitz PDP American Literature 4A 17 November 2008 Manipulation of the Misguided Charles Baudelaire once said that, "The devil's best trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist." The presence of the devil can never surely be known, but the deception and manipulation that is produced by the presence is always occurring and is sure to be realized by all that encounter it. The prey that the devil seeks are usually searching, vulnerable, and easily fooled by the disguises of the devil. Joyce Carol Oates' ambiguity and allusions provide a religious undertone revealing the devil's manipulation of the misguided and weak. Oates characterizes Connie to represent the seeking and vulnerable. The actions and thoughts of Connie illustrate a young girl searching for affection and self-affirmation. "She was fifteen and she had a quick, nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people's faces to make sure her own was alright"(paragraph 1). Appearance was crucial to the attention she would receive, and the height of her self-esteem. ...read more.


His forceful nature begins to penetrate as he tries to persuade Connie, "Yes, I'm your lover, you don't know what that is but you will.".(paragraph 29). His intentions are now sexual and dangerous. His transformation is binary and occurs right before Connie. It is the representation of the deceptions that occur upon the weak and searching. The unaware blindly fall into an initially attractive opportunity, but are then awakened to the realization that they failed to recognize that they were being manipulated. The obliviousness of Connie and the deceptions of Arnold Friend represent the devil deceiving the searching. Throughout the story, certain elements lead to the main theme of the devil manipulating the weak. The ambiguity and allusions allow us to interpret this conflict in a religious context. As Arnold Friend's transformation of intention takes place, a transformation of appearance also takes place. At first he appears to be around Connie's age but as she gets closer, Connie realizes "that he wasn't a kid, he was much older- thirty, maybe more. At this knowledge her heart began to pound faster" (paragraph 27). ...read more.


reads: And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city: and the old man said, "Whither goest thou? And whence comest thou?". Thus, the title of the story, "Where are you going, Where have you been?". Oates' purpose was to reveal the deceptions of the devil, and to provide a representation of how the devil deceives the weak. Arnold Friend, who if you take out all the R's in his name reads, An old Fiend is the representation of Satan, the master manipulator. Connie simply represents a misguided, vulnerable girl. This story is an overall representation of the easily deceived taken into the temptations and manipulations of the devil. Oates' purpose was to display a scenario that often transpires in today's society. Everyday the credulous are deceived and consequences that are suffered can be vast. Connie walked to her doom, when she walked to Arnold Friend. Desperateness and demise are relative, and the process of manipulation can hardly be recognized. Those who fail to realize that the affect of vulnerability terminates in confusion and danger, live blindly, and are misled down a path that leads to loneliness, sin and ultimate termination. ...read more.

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