60 pages 2 hours read

Joyce Carol Oates

Blonde: A Novel

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2000

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Important Quotes

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“From Death’s hand I accepted the gift. I knew what it was, I think. Who it was from. Seeing the name and address I laughed and signed without hesitation.”

(Prologue, Page 4)

Death appears at the beginning of the novel as well as at the end. Through this, Norma Jeane’s fate is foreshadowed from the very beginning. This personification of Death is similar to that in Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death.” The inevitability of death when the time has come for a person is a theme throughout the novel, and in Dickinson’s poem, she presents this same theme.

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“‘See? That man is your father.’ There was a day, it was Norma Jeane’s sixth birthday, the first day of June 1932, and a magical morning it was, blinding breathless whitely dazzling, in Venice Beach, California.”

(Part 1, Chapter 2, Page 13)

Here, Norma Jeane believes her mother is showing her a picture of her real father, although this is never confirmed, and Norma Jeane continues to seek out her real father throughout her life. Her mother shows her daughter the picture but refuses to give her a name, and as such, the identity of Norma Jeane’s father is held just out of her reach.

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“If I was pretty enough, my father would come and take me away.”

(Part 1, Chapter 5, Page 71)

This presents the belief that Norma Jeane holds at the beginning of the novel that she could earn love through her appearance. Eventually, however, she becomes one of the most sexually desired women in the world, but she still does find the love she needs.