60 pages 2 hours read

Joyce Carol Oates

Blonde: A Novel

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2000

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Prologue-Part 1Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: “The Child: 1932-1938”

Prologue Summary: “Special Delivery”

Content Warning: Sexual assault and sexualization occur frequently throughout the novel. In addition, derogatory terms for women are used, and suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism, and abortion are presented.

As the novel opens, Death is personified, riding a bike toward Marilyn Monroe’s home to deliver a package. Marilyn understands the sender and the package. She laughs and accepts the package.

Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary: “The Kiss”

The narrator believes that life is all a movie that she cannot see the ending of. The narrator considers the perennial narrative sequence of the Fair Princess and a Dark Prince. The Fair Princess constantly seeks outside validation.

Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary: “The Bath”

This chapter is divided into seven different subsections and is narrated in both the third- and first-person perspectives from several characters’ points of view. When Norma Jeane Baker turns six years old, her mother, Gladys, shows her a picture of a man who she says is Norma Jeane’s father. Norma Jeane typically lives with her grandmother, Della, and her mother works at the Studio. Norma Jeane considers how she has always seen herself through others’ eyes because she believes she can better trust their interpretations than her own.

Seeing her father’s picture makes Norma Jeane feel like other children.