August 21, 2010

Marilyn Monroe

Right now I am attempting to write an 'interview' with Marilyn Monroe for a competition on Suzannah Burke's blog.
Poor Norma Jean had so many names in her lifetime - her mother misled her about who her father was, though of course it is quite possible her mother didn't actually know - she had a birth certificate in one name, but was brought up by foster parents, in an orphanage, all over the place. Never more than two years or so with any caregiver at a stretch before being moved again. No wonder her sense of identity was fragile, and her life one long attempt to be whatever she thought others wanted her to be.
Playing a part was what she did in every situation. With an IQ of 168 she was way over the intelligence of everybody around her, which can only have fed her sense of isolation.
Left school at 16, married, and divorced again by twenty, attended UCLA and studied Art and Literature, read widely, and projected the archetypal Ditzy Blonde image.
She modelled her appearance and public persona equally carefully. For instance, after working for several years(from age 9) in the orphanage kitchen, she famously scrubbed a lettuce leaf by leaf with detergent on being told by her roommate to 'wash the lettuce for a salad' This was widely publicised as an example of how impractical and incapable of 'normal' household tasks she was. Which of course is why she did it, to get that image firmly into the press and public's impression of her.

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