Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

1882 Words Oct 7th, 2014 8 Pages
Through its contrasting reality and dreamlike scenes, Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” uses details from a true American horror story to convey a message about society, youth and a loss of innocence. Arizona native Charles Schmid murdered Alleen Rowe on May 31, 1964. Schmid was considered a serial killer and was subsequently arrested and convicted of the heinous crimes that he was accused of. The profile of Schmid as a short man who wore makeup, wigs and altered boots to make him appear taller, were used by Oates in her story to describe the antagonist, Arnold Friend. In the story and in real life the antagonist/Schmid, uses his fake looks, money and smooth talking as a way to get people to follow him; giving him the moniker “The Pied Piper of Tucson.” Oates’ story is read almost as a parable or an allegory about the changing of society at the time and the impact that it had on the youth of the day; in particular for this story young teenage girls. Oates uses other inspirations for this story from current popularities at the time such as the Bob Dylan song “It’s all over now, Baby Blue” and even has a dedication to Bob Dylan at the beginning of the story. According to Oates this connection was minor. She found a connection to Dylan’s style of writing at the time which Oates described in an interview. When asked about the connection to Dylan, Oates described his writing style of that song as, “…a nursery rhyme gone wrong, he had taken a kind of…
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