Marilyn Monroe Case Study
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By: Valarie Brummert Psychology Period 9 6/1/03
There are few books that feature Marilyn Monroe speaking of her life in her words. “My Story”, Monroes autobiography, and “Marilyn: Her Life in Her Own Words” photographed and co-authored by George Barris, are perhaps the only two.

What is important about hearing Marilyn speak of her own life and comments on the events that led her to stardom? Everything. The most photographed, the most famous, and the most misunderstood Hollywood actress of all time, her voice and thoughts were lost in the controversy and mania that surrounded her career and now legendary status. Marilyn Monroe, it could be said, appeared, took our hearts, glowed, glimmered, and faded with few people then or now knowing anything about what the woman and the actress thought or felt about herself and life.

For this, I respect the book and definitely recommend it. Marilyn Monroe was to her most sincere admirers and as a person, so much more than the mixture of qualities that she exuded in photos, in interviews, and onscreen. It was in photos particularly that we see Marilyns magnificent work, a special spark that transferred from her soul to the camera and beyond. But she was also equally as smart in her mind than just in her body. Marilyn writes that she “enjoys Tolstroy” and dozens of other classic books. Now that’s clearly a remarkable one. Did I also mention she took up classes at a California college nearby her Hollywood home?

Open the book to the middle section and Marilyn appears in impromptu shots along the beach in Santa Monica, breezy and girly in some, and striking Hollywood poses in others. She was as comfortable here as anywhere else, although in some indoor shots with her hair and makeup done up and sipping champagne, or posed pin-up style with legs splayed across white stone steps, we see the classic Marilyn. In some photos, Marilyns character and moods range from carefree to girlish, contemplative to sexy, surprised to demure. All the while, the photography captures the natural way she would transform from woman to girl and girl to woman.

Monroes first lines are “I thought the people I lived with were my parents. I called them mama and dad. The woman said to me one day, ‘Don’t call me mama. You’re old enough to know better. I’m not related to you in any way. You just board here. Your mama’s coming to see you tomorrow. You can call her mama if you want to.” She then takes the opportunity to tell her story from the beginning, placing emphasis on the history of her family and how she grew up. Aside from what is commonly known about her dramatic marriages, divorces, and rise to fame, Monroe was interested not in telling what made her a star, but the events that composed her life. From her beginnings as a foster child to an awkward young woman, Monroe, named Norma Jeane at birth, had a recognizably common yet strangely painful childhood. Surviving orphanage and poverty planted the seeds for Marilyns astounding approach to stardom.

Barely 20 years old, Monroe turned her eyes directly to Hollywood, describing the star-struck insecurities that she struggled with along the way. This is the story told from the other

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