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The Fine Line Between Good and Evil in Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? and A Good Man is Hard to Find”

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Stories usually include the archetype bad guys that seem to be evil, but in numerous stories, the “bad guys” persona becomes clouded. In the short stories, “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor there are centralized antagonists, Arnold Friend and The Misfit, that are the archetype of a bad guy with a troubled past. Both short stories have subliminal messages hinting towards the devil. But if you start reading deeper you can see that’s not all they are portrayed, as seen in the short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, the Misfit could also be portrayed as an archetype as a savior or a seer that has lost his way, although in “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? “, Arnold Friend could be portrayed as a satyr, a mischievous demi god. While it can be argued that both characters are completely evil or not, they both have similar and their own personal qualities like the need to inflict pain upon others although they go about it in different ways.
In the story “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” Arnold Friend is depicted as the antagonist of the book, trying to seduce Connie into going with him on a ride. He could be shown as an evil person, intent on doing harm to Connie, by the way Oates wrote the book, you can almost feel the frustration building up in him as Connie keeps telling him no, “[Arnold Friend] wobbled again and out of the side of his mouth came a fast spat curse, an aside not meant for [Connie] to hear. But even this "Christ!" sounded forced. Then he began to smile again. She watched this smile come, awkward as if he were smiling from inside a mask.’’ Arnold’s demon like identity can be seen when Connie shouts “Christ, Chr...


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...Him as with me except He hadn't committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had the papers on me. Of course…’” In this quote it is showing that the Misfit is comparing himself with Jesus, as if his actions are justified the same way, Jesus’s actions were. The ironic part about him being compared to Jesus is, the Misfit thinks he can help the people of the world, not by changing the world, but removing them from the world.
In conclusion, the short stories, “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor the antagonists, Arnold Friend and The Misfit. The Misfit could also be depicted as an archetype as a savior or a seer that has lost his way, although in “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? “, Arnold Friend could be portrayed as a satyr, a mischievous demi god.



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