Analysis Of 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'

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The unspoken question that lingers in most critics mind is the identity of Arnold Friend. Subjected to multiple interpretations, Arnold Friends existence is central to the realistic hermeneutics. Connie asks with her eyes: “who is this guy”? Critics of the story have also indulged in this question and responded with varieties of interpretations. And for most of the critics, the answer monotonously is that Arnold friend is undoubtedly an enigma; his mysterious demeanor has given rise to much unrealistic speculation. In more precise embodiment, Arnold friend is described as a fiend or the devil, the personification of Satan himself, and even a satyr. With these interpretations, Arnold Friend loses his existence in realistic hermeneutics and proceeds…show more content…
In contrast, C. Harold Hurley emphasizes his disagreement with Robinson’s claim in “Cracking the Secret Code in Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’. Hurley disagrees when he writes “Oates, unfortunately, never explains the code’s meaning; and Robinson’s contention that the numbers refer to passages in Judges and Genesis obscures rather than clarifies the code’s significant” (Hurley 1). Hurley’s proposition offers a non-biblical interpretation of the numbers – the codes as proposed by Hurley sums up to sixty-nine when computed. Sixty-nine as known by many has a sexual connotation, thus Hurley’s interpretation indicates Arnold Friends sexual perversity. Agreeably, Hurley’s interpretation is, in my opinion, on par with Arnold Friends character in terms of his sexual perversion. Piwinski complicates matter further when he provides his own interpretation – claiming the numbers harbors Arnold Friends exact age, and the ages of his previous victims (Piwinski 1). Obviously, if we think hard enough, numerous and dozens of allegorical substitution for the numbers will emerge, but all of them always returns to the same elucidatory principle:
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