All this suggests that Arnold Friend, not Connie, is in control of her actions. It was inspired by three Tucson, Arizona murders committed by Charles Schmid, which were profiled in Life magazine in an article written by Don Moser on March 4, 1966. Now she remembered him even better, back at the restaurant, and her cheeks warmed at the thought of how she had sucked in her breath just at the moment she passed him—how she must have looked to him. This one comment clearly points to a situation where Connie would be taken from a safe haven of innocence. In this story, Connie takes the role of Persephone and Arnold of Hades. She couldn't hear the music at this distance.
The depiction of Arnold Friend runs parallel to the common conception of the Devil. She could not remember what it was, this room. Arnold Friend shows her his sign, drawing an X in the air, explaining he flashed it at her when he first saw her. Between 1971-95, Oates published twenty-five novels, eighteen short story compilations, three collections of novellas, five volumes of poetry, six editions of plays, eight books of essays, and countless more umcollected works Kellman 487. It prepares the reader for a journey, and in this story, that means physically, as in her family going out for the day, and her impending adventure with Arnold Friend, as well as the emotional, spiritual and mental journey and history that defines Connie, our protagonist. She is smart enough to know the dangers of going off with a stranger. We all live day by day wondering what God's will is for our lives.
He grinned so broadly his eyes became slits and she saw how thick the lashes were, thick and black as if painted with a black tarlike material. Alternative interpretations also will be discussed for comparison and weakness will be pointed out and refuted. Moreover, in many traditional depictions of Death and the Maiden scenes, death wears a mask or disguise Widmayer 10. Kurkowski argues in his article. Taking the wheel or driving a car indicates control, empowerment, freedom, and mobility, which women don't get to enjoy in this story. Another nice aspect of this long scene is all of the little details.
Then he began to smile again. Are we talking about sex, or what is bound to come after, the violence, and the disposal of the body? He repeats that she is endangering her family by refusing to leave with him. She hates her life at times, feels that she is special, above it all, and deserves more. The story ends ambiguously, with Connie leaving the porch. Before deeply analyzing the text, it is important to understand the time period in which Oates is writing. She shook her head as if to get awake.
The author has often mentioned the Death and the Maiden folktale to be one of her primary influences, where innocent Persephone is mesmerized by Hades, and has to live with him in the underworld for six months of the year. I was fairly skeptical initiating reading this novel and its size - 1100 pages - made me very scared. 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. He resumed his erect position and tried to force his shoulders back. Connie first encounters Arnold in a parking lot while she is out with her friends, but she does not yet know who he is.
Arnold asks her if she saw his sign when she walked past him that night. However, Connie seems to pay no attention to it because he appears to look a lot like a common boy. He succeeds in subjecting her to unbearable pains and agony. So you get a quick history of them, too. Connie had long dark blond hair that drew anyone's eye to it, and she wore part of it pulled up on her head and puffed out and the rest of it she let fall down her back. He knows the power of his voice and words, and the effect it can have on innocent girls.
Connie stared at him, another wave of dizziness and fear rising in her so that for a moment he wasn't even in focus but was just a blur standing there against his gold car, and she had the idea that he had driven up the driveway all right but had come from nowhere before that and belonged nowhere and that everything about him and even about the music that was so familiar to her was only half real. Feminist critics argue that Oates writes Connie as a young woman who suffers the same experience with other women in a patriarchal society. Patrick Paul Christle offers a detailed analysis of songs involved in the story as evidence that music strengthens the feminism theme. He invites her to come look at the other side of the car but Connie refuses, staying in the doorway. Connie is in the midst of an adolescent rebellion. The story shows a mirror of such a superficial, promiscuity, celebrity-obsessed culture, which plays an integral role on naive minds.
It is at his direction that Connie places the phone back in its cradle and walks out to her fate. She asks wise-enough questions regarding his age, and not going over to the other side of the car. She watched herself push the door slowly open as if she were back safe somewhere in the other doorway, watching this body and this head of long hair moving out into the sunlight where Arnold Friend waited. His smooth threats soon pay off, and Connie soon follows. She is in that rebellious age, trying to have a foothold on maturity and adulthood, pretending to be wiser than she is. The car too plays an important role in the game of seduction. Arnold explains that since the night at the drive-in, he's learned a lot about Connie, including her name, her friends, even the fact that her entire family is out today.