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Reflecting the sexualized culture she finds herself in, Connie prizes beauty above all.Her main interaction with the wider culture occurs through music, which constitutes a sort of secular religion for her.
Connie, the story’s young protagonist, navigates adolescence by adopting two personas: one for her home life and another, more sexualized and polished, for her public life.
Her life is defined by her relationship to boys or men; romance fills her thoughts and her reunions with other girls are simply a pretext for approaching boys.
Arnold Friend, the story’s primary antagonist, is a strange and ambiguous character.
Theorized to be a devil and a savior, a very real psychopath and a supernatural being, Arnold Friend’s identity is unclear.
More disturbingly, he is a couple decades older than what he claims to be.
Arnold Friend is skilled in manipulation, using Connie’s vanity and curiosity to lure her into a conversation where he can assert control over her.
Eventually he offers to cut Connie’s phone line, bolstering Arnold Friend’s ambiguous and seductive verbal threats with the possibility of real, physical violence.
Like his partner, Ellie Oscar is significantly older than her first appears. Where Connie is flighty, social, and pretty, June is steadfast, quiet, and plain.
While Connie’s character is rooted in her emotions, relationships, and history, Arnold Friend simply appears, without a background.
Throughout the story it becomes clear he is not who he pretends to be: he sports a wig, stuffs his boots, and paints his face.