Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

by

Joyce Carol Oates

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Arnold Friend Character Analysis

The story’s antagonist, Arnold Friend is a deeply sinister character—a man who pretends to be a teenage boy in his effort to kidnap, rape, and murder Connie. Connie first sees Friend outside a drive-in restaurant, where he immediately tells her, “Gonna get you, baby.” Throughout the story it becomes clear that he is highly manipulative and that his appearance is deceptive. Not only does he use Connie’s love of music to make himself seem like an ideal romantic suitor and speak to her in a lilting, sing-song fashion to distract her from the horror of his words, he also wears makeup and stuffs his boots to make himself appear both younger and taller. These are all parts of his attempt to manipulate Connie into coming out of her house so that he can abduct her and, it is implied, rape and murder her. Over the course of their disjointed conversation, there are references to biblical verses and Friend demonstrates an uncanny knowledge of Connie’s personal life. He also seems to know exactly what her family is doing at that very moment. In this way, it seems possible that Friend is an evil supernatural force, perhaps even the devil himself. Oates has described how she based the character of Arnold Friend on the real life serial killer, Charles Schmid, who also wore makeup and stuffed his boots in order to alter his appearance, and was known for preying on teenage girls—taking three of their lives in Tuscon, Arizona the 1960s.

Arnold Friend Quotes in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

The Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? quotes below are all either spoken by Arnold Friend or refer to Arnold Friend. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Collins edition of Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? published in 2006.
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Quotes

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 all right. Her mother, who noticed everything and knew everything and who hadn't much reason any longer to look at her own face, always scolded Connie about it.

Related Characters: Connie, Arnold Friend, Connie’s Mother
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:

She drew her shoulders up and sucked in her breath with the pure pleasure of being alive, and just at that moment she happened to glance at a face just a few feet from hers. It was a boy with shaggy black hair, in a convertible jalopy painted gold. He stared at her and then his lips widened into a grin. Connie slit her eyes at him and turned away, but she couldn't help glancing back and there he was, still watching her. He wagged a finger and laughed and said, “Gonna get you, baby,” and Connie turned away again without Eddie noticing anything.

Related Characters: Connie, Arnold Friend, Eddie
Related Symbols: Arnold Friend’s Car
Page Number: 120-121
Explanation and Analysis:

Connie sat with her eyes closed in the sun, dreaming and dazed with the warmth about her as if this were a kind of love, the caresses of love, and her mind slipped over onto thoughts of the boy she had been with the night before and how nice he had been, how sweet it always was […] sweet, gentle, the way it was in movies and promised in songs […]

Related Characters: Connie, Arnold Friend, Eddie
Related Symbols: Music
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:

“Now, these numbers are a secret code, honey,” Arnold Friend explained. He read off the numbers 33, 19, 17 and raised his eyebrows at her to see what she thought of that, but she didn't think much of it.

Related Characters: Arnold Friend (speaker), Connie
Related Symbols: Arnold Friend’s Car
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:

He was standing in a strange way, leaning back against the car as if he were balancing himself. He wasn't tall, only an inch or so taller than she would be if she came down to him. Connie liked the way he was dressed, which was the way all of them dressed: tight faded jeans stuffed into black, scuffed boots a belt that pulled his waist in and showed how lean he was, and a white pull-over shirt that was a little soiled and showed the hard small muscles of his arms and shoulders.

Related Characters: Connie, Arnold Friend
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:

“Yes, I'm your lover. You don't know what that is but you will,” he said. “I know that too. I know all about you […] I'm always nice at first, the first time. I'll hold you so tight you won't think you have to try to get away or pretend anything because you'll know you can't. And I'll come inside you where it's all secret and you'll give in to me and you'll love me—"

Related Characters: Arnold Friend (speaker), Connie
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

Arnold Friend was saying from the door, “That's a good girl. Put the phone back.” […] She picked it up and put it back. The dial tone stopped. “That's a good girl. Now, you come outside.” […] She thought, I'm not going to see my mother again. She thought, I'm not going to sleep in my bed again.

Related Characters: Arnold Friend (speaker), Connie, Connie’s Mother
Related Symbols: Connie’s House
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:

“My sweet little blue-eyed girl,” he said in a half-sung sigh that had nothing to do with her brown eyes but was taken up just the same by the vast sunlit reaches of the land behind him and on all sides of him—so much land that Connie had never seen before and did not recognize except to know that she was going to it.

Related Characters: Arnold Friend (speaker), Connie
Related Symbols: Connie’s House
Page Number: 136
Explanation and Analysis:
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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? PDF

Arnold Friend Character Timeline in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

The timeline below shows where the character Arnold Friend appears in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Music and Romantic Fantasy Theme Icon
...pleasure of being alive.” At that moment she notices a boy (later revealed as Arnold Friend) just a few feet away; he has “shaggy black hair” and his car is gold... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Music and Romantic Fantasy Theme Icon
...through the screen door. She recognizes the driver as the boy (soon revealed as Arnold Friend) in the gold convertible car with shaggy black hair that looks like a wig. He... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
...33,19,17, and then tells her, “This here is my name.” Connie can see that “Arnold Friend” is written on the side of the car. Friend adds, “I’m gonna be your friend.”... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Music and Romantic Fantasy Theme Icon
As Friend stands beside the car, Connie observes his appearance; he is dressed the way all teenage... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Friend lists the names of Connie’s friends and tells her that they’ve met before—she must just... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
Friend abruptly begins speaking about the boy in the passenger seat, Ellie, who continues listening to... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
Connie claims that her father is coming home soon, but Friend says, “He ain’t coming. He’s at a barbecue,” going on to describe the barbecue with... (full context)
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
Music and Romantic Fantasy Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
Friend is unperturbed by Connie’s threats to call the police. Ellie asks if Friend wants him... (full context)
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
Friend repeats that that Connie should come out of the house herself, before asking “Don’t you... (full context)
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
...crying out for her mother. After a while, she regains her senses and can hear Friend telling her to put the phone back. She feels hollow and thinks of how she... (full context)
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
Friend tells Connie, “The place where you came from ain't there anymore, and where you had... (full context)