– Just An Ordinary Goddess Essay, Research Paper
Just an Ordinary ?Goddess?
Hollywood created the image of Marilyn Monroe as a stereotypical sex bomb and dumb blonde, which captivated the eyes and hearts of many men. Sharon Olds breaks down Monroe?s ?goddess? label and identifies Marilyn Monroe with qualities that everyday people actually have.
These qualities are shown through Olds?s use of certain words throughout the poem, which are trying to identify Marilyn Monroe as a normal person. This description of Monroe is in a way that no one could ever imagine. It goes against the Hollywood glamour stereotype with the way Olds describes the situation, ?The ambulance men touched her cold body, lifted it, heavy as iron, onto the stretcher and carried her, as if it were she, down the steps? (Olds 418).
The choice of words is very significant to the rest of the poem because it penetrates past the stereotype of beauty and charm normally associated with Marilyn Monroe, which leaves you vulnerable to a new look Sharon Olds wants to introduce. The description of Monroe?s body being cold is very different to what a beautiful poster girl should be. Moreover, Olds?s second description of Monroe?s body being as heavy as iron continues the author?s approach of trying to connect Monroe as being ?human? not just the Hollywood robot of beauty that has no feeling or emotion. The idea of Marilyn Monroe dead in a body bag, arms tied to her sides and mouth and eyes forced shut does not seem real because that sounds ugly and horrible, which cannot occur, because Monroe is a symbol of beauty. However Olds makes this point of Marilyn?s death sound like an everyday death, through the description of the ambulance men use of the body bag. At
this point Olds connects the first part of her poem with the second part, by making her strongest point. The author does this by relating with the men who could not believe Monroe was dead by saying, ?the men carried her, as if it were she, down the steps? (Olds 418). This statement shows that she can connect with the men, by saying that the woman on the stretcher cannot be Marilyn Monroe because that woman is not beautiful, rather is very cold and heavy. But if the real Marilyn Monroe were to die, she would be glamorous and beautiful like she normally was.
The everyday qualities that people have were surely not seen by the men that looked at Marilyn Monroe because whenever they saw her, they fantasized or had dreams about her. Now she was dead. These men were never the same. They went out afterwards, as they always did, for a drink or two, but they could not meet each other?s eyes (Olds 418). This reveals the men all thought of her as a ?goddess? because of their individual responses to the situation. Their responses were all individually different but based on an infatuation, that they could not meet each other?s eyes because they were ignoring their masculine depth of feelings (Bly 338). One man had nightmares, strange pains, impotence, depression, which shows that even though he did not know Monroe, she had an effect on his life (Olds 418). The second man looked at death differently?as a place where she would be waiting, which means instead of living his life to go to heaven, he was going to live so he could see Marilyn when he dies. These two men relate to Marilyn Monroe as being more than human. These two descriptions bring out the sexy Hollywood creation of Marilyn Monroe. However with the last man?s account Olds?s leaves us with a lasting impression of the way she wants us to remember Marilyn Monroe. Sharon Olds uses a technique that slows the reader down as the poem ends, which makes the reader identify
with Monroe taking her last breaths. So the author slows you down and reveals what she wanted to, that Marilyn Monroe was just an ordinary woman breathing (Olds 419).