Since it's first publication in 1966, Joyce Carol Oates's short story "Where are You Going? Where Have You Been?" has led various critics to propose a tremendous array of sources for which the story has been based. While some of the more obvious ones, such as the Life article covering the story of murderer and rapist Charles Schmid, were revealed to be a basis by Oates herself, others, such as Thomas Mann's "Tristan," Little Red Riding Hood and the Bible, are not. Such influences enabled Oates to convey her edifying messages concerning the music, social behavior and promiscuity of adolescent culture.
The first and most obvious influence is music. Throughout the story, rock n" roll is described as an unbroken presence in Connie's life, as well as serving as a fundamental connection between Arnold Friend and her. There have been several speculations regarding the significance of these descriptions, some going so far as to conclude that Ellie Oscar is the incarnation of Elvis Presley (Kapper 2). One of the major influences in Oates's work is the lyrical content and music of Bob Dylan. One song in particular that specifically swayed her to write "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?," is Dylan's "Its All Over Now Baby Blue," which depicts the loss of innocence involved in growing up. In it, Dylan states: "The Highway is for gamblers, better use your sense/The .
empty handed painter from your streets/Is drawing crazy painters on your sheets."(10-14) In "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?," Connie is seen running across the highway with her friends, in order to reach the older kids "hangout place." By doing so, Connie is in fact taking a gamble, as she finds herself in unknown territory (Oates 2). .
By taking such a risk Connie does get into trouble by exposing herself to Arnold Friend, a murderer and rapist. In keeping with the theme of music, it has been considered that the incident between Connie and Friend was based upon German writer Thomas Mann's novella "Tristan.