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Character Analysis on Arnold Friend From the Movie “Smooth Talk” Essay

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Updated: Oct 29th, 2021

Introduction

The 1985 film “Smooth Talk” is a movie based on the 1966 short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates. This essay addresses the character Arnold Friend from the film along with providing analysis of this character and the symbolism that might have been pointed out.

The character

In describing the Arnold Friend character it should be implied that because of his absence for the first half of the film and his presence in the film’s most powerful moments that this character has a great impact on the movie’s synopsis.

As the film shows the heroine’s attraction to men and her sexual interest could be interpreted in a way that Arnold Friend’s description may emphasize her presentation of an ideal man at first sight. He is older, and much older than he says, also he is has a car along with an attractive look.

He is full of swagger and machismo in a way that he is pulling the heroine toward him. He represents all that the heroine seeks in the person who will help her to pass into her adulthood. While the characters description is favorable in Connie’s eyes that impression is delusional, as she gets to know him better she senses threat in all his actions. The one conclusion that might describe his psychological portrait is that Arnold Friend is a powerful Vampire that hypnotizes and absorbs the heroine’s will to resist who has some power over her, especially if assuming that he pushes in the direction where she already had the intention to go through. The usage of the dirty talking that seems to shock her is one of the ways that he implies his intentions that end her innocence.

What could be implied from the film is that Arnold is a very convincing character who got used to getting what he wants presenting a terror to young girls and using every weapon he has including threats, blandishment and persistence at the same time to seduce the heroine as implied in the film knowing that he created a scaring sympathy toward him.

Symbolism and Background

The supposition that the Arnold Friend’s character might have been inspired by the real murderer Charles Schmid can explain the roots of the personality that is chosen to represent the possible threat for any young girl, and especially for her parents. In spite of the similarities between the characters, it should be mentioned that it is a typical description using such signs as the car, the hair, the dress and the attitude.

The smooth talk and the movie star look is an obvious attraction the heroine asked for. In the scenes where the heroine hang out with boys older than her, it is shown that her desire to enter the adulthood was realized in the image presented by Arnold Friend. When confronting Connie, his odd behavior repeatedly reveals his abnormal feelings and emotions. The way in which Arnold acts in front of Connie is far from normal.

It might be suggested that Arnold represent the devil in the film, which is implied by taking out the ‘R’ letter from his name (An old Fiend), this suggestion is symbolic as it can be explained that such type of guys is a potential evil for girls at that age, or (An old friend) a reference to Arnold when he introduces himself as a friend. The way the heroine acted in the film might seem as a justification for the appearance of such character, but the age at which she faced those events shows the high price paid to achieve personal conclusions from such experiences. Although the movie’s ending is open for suggestions on what might happen, the impact on the heroine seems apparent.

The fear of what you wish for has a significant meaning in both the Arnold’s behavior and the film’s end.

Works Cited

Smooth Talk. Dir. Joyce Chopra. 1985 Perf. Treat Williams, Mary Kay Place, Laura Dern, and Levon Helm. 20th Century Fox.

Oates, Joyce C. Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?: Selected Early Stories. Ontario: Review Press, 2002.

Ramsland, Katherine. “Charles Schmid: The Pied Piper.” Trutv. 2008. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021, October 29). Character Analysis on Arnold Friend From the Movie “Smooth Talk”. https://ivypanda.com/essays/character-analysis-on-arnold-friend-from-the-movie-smooth-talk/

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IvyPanda. (2021, October 29). Character Analysis on Arnold Friend From the Movie “Smooth Talk”. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/character-analysis-on-arnold-friend-from-the-movie-smooth-talk/

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"Character Analysis on Arnold Friend From the Movie “Smooth Talk”." IvyPanda, 29 Oct. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/character-analysis-on-arnold-friend-from-the-movie-smooth-talk/.

1. IvyPanda. "Character Analysis on Arnold Friend From the Movie “Smooth Talk”." October 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/character-analysis-on-arnold-friend-from-the-movie-smooth-talk/.


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IvyPanda. "Character Analysis on Arnold Friend From the Movie “Smooth Talk”." October 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/character-analysis-on-arnold-friend-from-the-movie-smooth-talk/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Character Analysis on Arnold Friend From the Movie “Smooth Talk”." October 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/character-analysis-on-arnold-friend-from-the-movie-smooth-talk/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Character Analysis on Arnold Friend From the Movie “Smooth Talk”'. 29 October.

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