In Oates' story, the character that stands out the most to me is Arnold Friend. Friend's manner and behavior are very strange, but it isn't until you have absorbed the entire story that you begin to really see his madness. One of Oates most chilling descriptions is of Friend's boots. "She looked out to see Arnold Friend puase and then take a step toward the porch lurching. he almost fell. But, like a clever drunken man, he managed to catch his balance. He wobbled in his high boots and grabbed hold of one of the porch posts...One of his boots was at a strange angle, as if his foot wasn't in it. It pointed out to the left, bent at the ankle."
Its as if he has a monster or zombie-like presence. He is "lurching" towards Connie and there is something not quite right, or quite human, about his booted feet. Oates has placed a very simple and non-threatening description of the character in the middle of a tension laced conversation between the characters. I think that Oates shows how the use of such simple descriptions can be placed in a story to draw a reader's attention to certain behaviors. These behaviors can say a lot about a character and their motives.