The persona of a psychopath appears to be much like any human. In many cases,one would not be able to “pick them out of a crowd”. Their minds,however, differ greatly from most. A psychopath is extremely smart andmethodical in thinking and most often is very meticulous in the way in whichhe/she acts. While many people are not thinking beyond the norm, a psychopaththinks about every breath, step, and word a person lets out into the open.
Inthe short story “Where are you going, Where have you been?” by JoyceCarol Oates, the depiction of a psychopath is quite apparent. His mannerism,thoughts and tactic all create the perfect portrayal of a truly derangedcharacter. Arnold Friend follows Connie from the beginning of the story. WhenConnie finally notices his presence, “he [stares] at her and then his lipswidened?and there he was still watching her,” (Oates 589), revealing histrue desires and aspirations.
Arnold not only wants to kill Connie, but to seeand understand every breath she takes. Although unaware of his closeness, itbecomes quite apparent that Arnold Friend is stalking Connie when he states,”I know my Connie” (Oates 592). In Arnold’s mind, Connie is acomponent of his game that he must figure out. Bringing fear to Connie’s eyes,Arnold states, “I know your name and all about you, lots of things”(Oates 592), truly proving his demented intentions. Recalling seeing Connie atthe drive-in the night before and had “wagged a finger and laughed,”saying “Gonna get you, baby” in response to Connie’s smirk (Barstow2577), divulging his true obsession with Connie.
Although Arnold pursues Conniestealthily, there are many other elements to his psychopathic mind. ArnoldFriend’s mannerisms augment his deranged intellect. When confronting Connie, hisodd behavior repeatedly reveals his abnormal feelings and emotions. Speaking toConnie in a fast bright monotone (Oates 591), he clashes excitement and boredom,an unusual mixture of emotions. The way in which Arnold acts in front of Connieis far from normal. As he begins to get exasperated with Connie’s refusal to gofor a ride, Arnold begins to “[laugh] as if she had said something funny.
He slapped his thighs. He was standing in a strange way” (Oates 592),revealing his true frustration, not only with Connie, but with himself as well. With fear and revelation in her eyes, “Connie let the screen door shut?Hestood there so stiffly relaxed, pretending to be relaxed,” (Oates 593), ashe realized his plan was not going as smoothly as expected. Arnold’sapprehension reveals his undeniable derangement. The way in which Arnold actswhen confronted with another human is far from normal, divulging his trulydisturbed mentality.
The most significant and unfathomable component of apsychopath is his/her manner of thought. Arnold Friend may seem ordinary atfirst glance, but his mind works far differently than most. Slowly, Arnolddevises a plan to lure Connie into the car, as she repeatedly refuses his offerhe begins to act more hostile, “as if the heat was finally getting tohim” (Oates 599). Arnold begins to get angry and allows this anger to fuelhis deranged desires.
Once again, Arnold attempts to entice Connie into the car,stating, “I’m your lover. You don’t know what that is but you will?AndI’ll come inside you where it’s all a secret and you’ll give into me and you’lllove me” (Oates 600), showing his true misconceptions of reality. ForArnold, love is the victim’s trust, great enough for him to kill. Theconceptions in which Arnold believes to be reality are deranged and unfathomableto most humans. He considers Connie’s murder a date and attempts to convince herby saying “this place you are now-inside your daddy’s house-is nothing buta cardboard box I can knock down any time” (Oates 603). Truly believingeach word he says, Arnold creates world in which his bemused ideas arereasonable and justified.
The mind of a psychopath vastly differs from any sanehuman. With the help of a great deal of self-justification, mentally derangedpeople come to believe their thoughts and actions are normal and acceptable. Apsychopath may seem normal and indistinguishable at first glance, but whenobserving his/her mannerisms, thoughts, and actions, it becomes quite clear thatthe person is far from normal. Joyce Carol Oates uses Arnold Friend to describethe sentiments, conceptions, and characteristics of a psychopath (Gillis 245).
With each description of Arnold, the reader is brought deeper into his dementedintellect. Arnold Friend is only a figment of a story, as well as a part of oursociety in which most people would never recognize or comprehend.BibliographyThis is from the story “Where are you going, Where have you been?”written by Joyce Carol Oates