The story is about two students from New York University. They are in a warehouse called Strand Used Books on. The warehouse has treasures as well as books. These two girls are going through books when someone interesting walks to where they are. The person is dressed like a male. She is wearing an oversize navy coat and a masculine hat. The hat hid most of her hair and the coat was up to her feet. After a keen look, the girls realized it was Marilyn Monroe. They were surprised to see her in such a place (Meyer, 81).
They wondered why she was dressed in such a manner and what she was doing in the warehouse. That place was disorganized and unattractive for Monroe’s personality. According to her social status, she was unfit to go through used books in a place like Strand. People would expect her to visit places like Waldorf-Astoria and not a placed with used and old books. Monroe is the third girl in the story. The author has used her as the protagonist in her collection of stories. She has used this character to bring out several themes in this story.
Monroe and the two girls interact and they talk about several topics. The author has used Monroe to depict the situation of the girls. Monroe’s coat and hat hid her real identity. In fact, only the two girls identified Monroe (Creighton, 43). This secrecy is shown by the two girls. They do not want to reveal about their relationship. They will be viewed as different people in the society. Their interaction with Monroe enables them to learn a lot. They witness her kindness and take in lessons from her. One important lesson is having confidence concerning their relationship.
Marilyn Monroe is used as a symbolism through out the story. Her appearance in the warehouse describes initial relationship between the two girls. They tried to hide their feelings for each other. Perhaps they feared the reaction each girl would have. As their friendship develops, they learn to be open to each other, just as the way Marylyn reveals herself. As the story ends, the girls are confident and ready to express their feelings openly. The author’s message is people should not hide their personality. It will not be long before they are identified (Oates, 489).
The theme of same-sex relationship is brought by the two girls. They are afraid of exposing their relationship because of condemnation from the society. Such relationships have brought controversy in many countries and others have declared them illegal. They are viewed as contribution to immorality and a way of ending human race. On a religious point of view, it is against the teaching to have same gender relationships. This is why people tend to conceal such relationships. Monroe’s role is to encourage people who feel they have different sex orientation from others.
The author has used Marilyn Monroe as an example of celebrity life. Their public image suggests they are special people. Celebrities are normal people with similar interests like other people. This is shown by Monroe when she goes to a warehouse to buy books. People expect her to buy new books from a classy bookstore (Oates, 80). On the contrary, she likes the old books from Strands. This shows humility and social nature of Monroe, regardless to her fame and wealth. It should tell the people that celebrities are not superior human beings than other people.
Celebrities also face challenges, which would make them hide their identity as Monroe has done in the story. False negative news about them is circulated through the media. Their image is tarnished and they are embarrassed to face the people. They are likely to disguise themselves when they have to go to public places. Only a few people recognize them just as the two girls recognized Monroe. It is unfair for such celebrities when the media spreads negative news about them. It is a big impact to the careers of these celebrities because they might lose popularity.
The student girls are amazed to see Monroe likes reading books. They follow her through the sections where she looked for books (Creighton, 57). They also note the books she selects for purchasing. They found it surprising that a celebrity like Monroe likes books. It excites the girls to know that they have a common interest with Monroe. Celebrities are seen to have pride and not associate themselves with lower class people. This is why it looks strange to the students when they see Monroe’ in Strand. Ordinary people share some interests with the rich and famous people.
This story has an important lesson to people. They should not judge a book by the cover. The first people who show this proverb are the two students. They have concealed their relationship until it is revealed at the end of the story. The story portrays the relationship as a normal friendship between girls. People just view them as ordinary friends according to their outward look. The only thing that reveals the truth is their interaction with Monroe. It is unwise to judge people without seeking the truth. It will lead to wrong conclusions and judgment.
Marilyn Monroe portrays this proverb by how she is wearing. She has dressed like a male because she intends to hide her identity. Many people would have concluded it was a man who is buying books. It would have definitely been a wrong judgment (Oates, 512). Monroe’s interaction with the two girls shows her humility. Since she is a celebrity, people do not expect this from her. They always think celebrities are proud people who can never mingle with ordinary people. This could be a reason why other people did not recognize Monroe. They would not expect her to be in such a place. Such outward judgment is wrong because celebrities have different personalities (Creighton, 98).
Creighton, Joanne V. Joyce Carol Oates: Novels of the Middle Years. New York: Twayne, 1992. Print.
Meyer, Michael. The Bedford introduction to literature. U. K: Bedford Books. 2011. Print.
Oates, Joyce C. Blonde: A Novel. New York, NY: Echo Press, 2000. Print.
Oates, Joyce C. I Am No One You Know: Stories. New York, NY: Ecco, 2004. Print.