Daphne du Maurier’s classic gothic novel Rebecca (1938) is a tale about the psychological manipulation of a young bride by her wealthy, troubled husband, Max de Winter. This narrator’s insecurity and constant comparisons to her husband’s deceased first wife, Rebecca, leads to her inaccurate perceptions that give way to surprising truths in the novel’s suspenseful conclusion. Another work of interest is The Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers’s 1946 novel about a young girl’s emotional conflicts and difficult transition into adulthood. Twelve-year-old female protagonist Frankie Addams wishes to be called F. Jasmine Addams and mistakenly believes that she will be accompanying her older brother on his honeymoon. McCullers’s deft use of perspective allows readers to understand and sympathize with Frankie, while gaining insights into her situation that she herself is incapable of achieving.
Flannery O’Connor’s collection of short stories A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955) makes it clear why Oates’s style, subject matter, and Themes are often traced to O’Connor’s influence. The title story, concerning a family’s ominous encounter with a man nicknamed “The Misfit,” presents an interesting comparison to “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Another relevant work, Susan Brownmiller’s groundbreaking 1975 study Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape is considered a landmark feminist exploration of the history and psychology of male power and domination over women.
Many of the short stories collected in Heat and Other Stories (1991) by Joyce Carol Oates touch on the issue of parent-child relationships. Oates’s characteristic violence appears in several of the stories. In others, the subject is the emotional extremes inherent in everyday life, as in the mother-daughter trip to the mall portrayed in “Shopping.” The mind of the serial killer is the focus of Oates’s Zombie (1995), told in a series of diary entries kept by the troubled Quentin P as he attempts to achieve his goal of creating a zombie from one of his victims.
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” was adapted as a film, Smooth Talk, directed by Joyce Chopra and starring Laura Dern, Treat Williams, and Mary Kay Place. It was originally produced in 1985 for the American Playhouse Series on the Public Broadcasting System and is available from Live Home Video and Vestron Video.