In a note accompanying the article she coauthored (p.530), Gretchen Schulz says that Oates told her the allusions to fairy tales in the story are intentional. What allusions to fairy tales can you identify? What do these allusions add to the story?
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This story has the essence of a cautionary tale. It's like "Red Riding Hood". Connie has the natural turmoil of an adolescent girl. Like the fairy tale she meets the wolf (Arnold Friend). Note the irony of the name. He tries to sound nice, like the wolf, but is sinister in nature.