After the much-discussed film, the question is relevant: who was Marilyn Monroe in the eyes of the book?

Don’t look now. Forget her almond eyes, peroxide blonde hair, cute laughter and bouncy walk. Forget Marilyn. Who was this woman, this actress, who has been dead for over sixty years and is still everywhere? Why haven’t all the (television) movies, biographies, and discussions devoted to her have rounded her up? Why do we keep looking for it?

2022 was Marilyn’s year. thousand. Saw the movie in September blond The long-awaited premiere on Netflix: a 167-minute drama in which Australian director Andrew Dominik showcases his ‘Marilyn’ in a grand and visually eclectic way, starring Ana de Armas as a well-matched ventriloquist dummy. The movie had a divisive effect on the audience. Some consider “trauma porn” unworthy of Monroe’s legacy. “It’s a work of art in itself,” said writer Joyce Carol Oates, whose 2000 novel the film is based on. In 2020, the book was reprinted with a foreword by literary scholar Eileen Showalter.

In the same interview with New York She tells Oates she has to stop watching the film adaptation halfway through until she recovers. She found it an “emotionally stressful” experience.Not for the faint of heartAlthough what actually happened to Monroe was “much worse”.

Bad and dark, that’s what Oates’ book is about. blond Dense: Among the fans who shamefully admit to each other that they haven’t read it (yet), there are rumors about a thousand pages long, fueled by Oates’ description of the book as ” Moby Dick”. It’s not too bad: the 2020 reprint is 738 pages long, and Oates has a smooth, fast-moving style. I’ve divided five long chapters into dozens of smaller chapters filled with slang, diary passages, poetry, and so on. Despite its heavy content, it’s all lighthearted, written with speed and fun.

Oates has spent years researching Monroe and opens her book with an account of cross-referenced sources, but it is also and above all fiction, a free-flowing literary interpretation of what could have been. Thoughts, Conversations, Incidents: Once Oates starts making up, the brakes go off and before you know it, you’re reading dozens of pages about “Rumpelstiltskin” (identifiable as Monroe’s agent Johnny Hyde), “ex-athlete” (baseball player Joe Dimaggio, her husband ii) and “playwright” (Arthur Miller, iii). Here they are characters in a dark fairy tale in which the main character is sometimes called Norma Jeane, sometimes Marilyn Monroe, and sometimes simply “the blonde actress.”

Also read NRC’s review of blond (●●●)“The Blonde” is sad and scary, and Marilyn is not for everyone

Great achievement blond is that in addition to her outward appearance—which can be seen through other people’s eyes—it gives Monroe back her body and her insides—damaged, abused, weary, constrained by suffocating tight dresses and painfully wobbly tight pumps, tormented by gynecological problems. A body that was alternately tossing her on the platform and then confining her to bed for long periods, which she cherished on the one hand with long baths, jewels and perfumes, and on the other hand numbed and narcotic so as not to be swallowed up by old fears.

Trump, a brand and pool of shame and misery; Monroe’s ambiguous handling of her physical self is the sad logical consequence of her origins as a lower-class woman in a sexist capitalist society, whose capital is sinister Hollywood.

abuse system

blond It is a condemnation of a whole system of abuse. Norma Jeane Mortenson, as her birth name was, was not unique, but a girl like many others; Born in 1938, and thus twelve years her junior, Oates recalls Norma Guinness from her childhood, in which there was no secure family environment and no real prospects for the future. In the 1940s, thousands of them, like Monroe, appeared at the gates of major film studios, and what happened to them inside had nothing to do with cinema. everyone knows that; The women complied, and paid the price. Hollywood was – or seemed to be – their only way out of poverty and anonymity. Oates translates her anger at this perversity into bleak scenes of verbal and physical humiliation that unfortunately seem out of reach to readers of the post-#MeToo era, as Showalter also writes in her foreword. She was Zeitgeist way forward.

She also takes Monroe professionally seriously. This, too, is exceptional: although Monroe’s formidable gifts as a comedian are now widely recognised, her talent is often seen as a kind of accidental catch, something she had “just like that,” almost despite herself. This is not true: if Monroe focused on anything, it was her career. It was her acting raison d’être, the ultimate escape on the run — as tempting as it is dangerous for someone with so much emotional baggage. Oates quotes both factual and fictional standard books on acting and explains some of Monroe’s best roles; Sherry is out bus stop (1956) and Sugar Kane Some like it hot (1959) both have their own chapter.

Also read an interview with Blonde director Andrew Dominik about Marilyn Monroe: “Too much worship apparently is not very healthy.”

All are commendable. However there with blond Something strange also happens: despite all the detail and artistry of the writer, after reading there is no memory of a real person. The all-around blonde is made up of so many parts it’s hard to love; Pity excites them, but only from a distance. The stylistic margin deprives the reader of the view of the person Oates wanted a memorial to.

his own voice

While Monroe had a voice of his own. It was published posthumously in 1974 my story, the beginning of her autobiography, which she wrote years earlier with the help of screenwriter friend Ben Hecht. The authenticity of the text has been controversial from the outset, but even if my story It’s a fairy tale – totally blond – then it remains clear that Monroe wanted to present precisely this version of her life. She gave a copy of the unfinished manuscript to Milton Green, one of her few believers. So you can assume it was the same behind the text.

And what a strong and stubborn man speaks here! There are a lot of pathetic passages, especially childhood memories of her schizophrenic mother that are heartbreaking, but Marilyn this is no easy task, no”cause lostIt is an aspirational fantasy that literally dreams of another life out of the gutter. Pretending, and this is now called self-help parlance; Monroe believed it wholeheartedly.

What distinguishes it from others Starlets She writes that it was not her talent or her beauty, but her “dream”. I clung to this dream despite the hunger and misery. “I had a secret in me—acting. It was like being in prison and looking at a door that said ‘EXIT.’ Acting was a golden thing, a beautiful thing.

Hollywood has come to define them as “Failure City,” full of malnourished and suicidal people. “Your dignity [er] Less important than your haircut. You are judged by your appearance, not by who you are. Unlike many other girls, she is not amenable to quick money: “The guys who tried to buy me made me sick.”

This does not mean that she does not flirt. Her life as a man magnet begins early, thanks to the “magic vest” she is allowed to borrow from a fellow resident of the orphanage. Norma Jean is twelve, but she “looks seventeen.” When she shows up at school in her new jacket, she stares at me “like I suddenly have two heads, which I somehow did”.

From that moment on, everything changes: guys crowd around her, girls turn away from her and gossip. The whistling and howling that haunts her becomes the soundtrack to her escapist fantasy: one day everyone will see and adore her, she will belong to “the ocean, the sky and the whole world”.

Her body is the key to everything. At the age of eight she was already molested by the master. Kimmel’, a creepy tenant at one of the many foster homes where she is temporarily placed. At the same time, she craves public nudity: in church she fights the impulse to take all her clothes off. “Dreaming of people looking at me made me feel less lonelyIt does not count on friendship or loyalty: men are wolves, and women are bitches who get upset the moment they appear. “I feel sorry for their men. I think these women are bad mistresses and sexual retards.

Misogyny

Yes, that was Monroe, too. Anyone who wants to posthumously elevate her on the feminist shield eg because once the fame came she got into so many fights with the studio system would do too my story A must read – although one could argue that she had no choice but to internalize the misogynistic notions of her time. in his “autobiography” Marilyn Since 1973’s Norman Mailer described her as a narcissist, she had to create bigger and bigger works to satisfy her showmanship cravings; He describes it as one monster sacre that caused chaos everywhere.

Marilyn is a macho book by a macho writer who will be scrapped simply because of his wild love life. But his book is one Great readFull of psychological hypotheses that are at least worth pondering. Was Monroe’s legendary delay on set, for example, just evidence of her awareness, or a form of strength too? Diva vs. director (as ever male) and his army of assistants? And what was her relationship with Yves Montand when they were married, was it love or cunning coincidence? In other words: Are we, as avid fans of Marilyn, ready to accept the less attractive aspects of her personality?

What else are we supposed to do with Maggie, the character based on Monroe after the fall (1964) by Arthur Miller? He began writing it after their divorce in 1961, but when the play premiered, Monroe had only been dead for a year and a half. The piece prompted an angry response from Miller. This was so special, it came so fast, it stained its name.

after the fall It’s still playing, though it’s certainly not Miller’s best work – the structure is hard to follow due to the constant alternation between main character Quentin’s thoughts and “real” dialogue.

Also read: TV review of the documentary From Norma Jeane to Marilyn Monroe (NTR)

Maggie begins as an irresistible beautiful shadow of a woman, a being so pure and vulnerable that Quentin – Miller’s alter ego – is convinced he must and can save her. But this fails miserably: once Maggie marries him, in a few scenes she transforms into a manipulative, verbally aggressive addict who constantly threatens suicide. Quentin is forced into the role of house doctor and caregiver until he has to literally snatch bottles of sleeping pills from her hands. It leaves her feeling a hopeless failure.

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