The Hidden Dark Life of Marilyn Monroe in The Death of the Marilyn Monroe

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

In the poem, Death of Marilyn Monroe, by Sharon Olds is the recounting of the day Marilyn Monroe was pronounced dead and an aftermath of emotional numbness felt by people dealing with dead bodies and concentrates on the “ambulance men” who transported her corpse. Basically, this poem is a reality write of how a sad event can effect other people’s life. Those three lives of men took a turn, one had nightmares, strange pains, depression, one started disliking his work and the other’s perspective to death changed. The opening is the most realistic section of the entire poem. It describes Marilyn as completely lifeless, and cold. She is not the warm and sweet Monroe that the public and media know anymore but a woman that lies there helplessly. Here “tried to close the mouth, closed the eyes, tied the arms to the sides, moved a caught strand of hair, as if it mattered,” this quote in the poem sets the hopeless tone for the rest of the poem. In death, she can no longer feel, she is no longer associated with her famous name.

Olds introduces the ambulance men into the poem by continuing to describe the horrifying scene of the dead Marilyn Monroe. The detail that is provided allows the reader to truly understand the scars and issues the men will experience later down the road because of this single incident. It describes Monroe’s body as being “heavy as iron” and the line, “the shape of her breasts, flattened by gravity” would be symbolic of the body being found face down, on her stomach. The second sentence indicates the focus of the poem: “These men were never the same.” The remainder of the poem describes how the lives of the three paramedics were altered by their encounter with the dead celebrity: One becomes depressed and impotent; one grows alienated from his job and changes his thoughts on mortality; one finds his attitude toward his wife subtly altered.

The following line reads like this, “under the sheet carried her (ambulance men), as if it were she, down the steps.” This line symbolizes Marilyn Monroe’s grace, beauty, and liveliness is no longer in here. I can imagine the men feeling very vulnerable and fragile as they carry the dead body of America’s sex symbol and showgirl. She was a famous celebrity back then and seeing your idol’s death is surely traumatizing than that of a normal person. From this I learned the lesson that “Fame, fortune, and “success” cannot shield people from the consequences of mental illness. If beauty, attraction, and charm could save a life and shield from the harm that mental illness can bring, Marilyn Monroe might have lived long enough to have seen a nursing home. We must resist the tendency to think that people are immune to mental illness based on class, status, and superficial societal standards.

The best part about the poem is the depiction of the aftermath the ambulance men experienced following the death of the lovely Monroe. If it weren’t for the title of the poem, the reader may have never known that the poem was referring to Marilyn Monroe’s death. Although it does give a brief of the death scene, the poems main focus is on the men not the woman. The thing that I find interesting about this poem is the intense focus on the ambulance men that have to remove the body. Yes, it is sad that Monroe has passed on but it is worse that these men have to live with the image for the rest of their life.

In our lives we go through various emotions happiness, tragedy, loss, trauma. But the thing is it doesn’t stay forever. Everything is so fleeting and impermanent. The woman is dead and lifeless in a literal sense but the men have the life sucked out of them figuratively. The next line begins with “these men were never the same” and then elaborates on each man’s struggle following the death scene. There lives were turned upside down for some time but will eventually recover with the pace of time. It is their job to recover and move on with their lives.

“One did not like his work, his wife looked different, his kids. Even death seemed different to him – a place where she would be waiting. For example: in 2015 a deadly earthquake hit my country Nepal, where more than 10,000 people died and 25,000 injured in a day. It stills feels like a recurring bad dream to me. It is the significance of the event that changes a person’s perspective, it is the real-life experience that changes their attitude, and it is the “life flashing before your eyes” experience that makes you take a step back and look at life situations differently. These men had no idea what they were about to see, but the toll it took on them was an emotion they would never forget, an emotion evoked from the reader that makes this poem memorable.

Lastly, the focus is shifted to the last four lines, “In the doorway to a room of sleep, listening to a woman breathing, just an ordinary woman breathing.” There is great significance to these concluding lines of the poem, sure it is referring to the final ambulance man’s aftermath, but there is an underlying message and placement of the word “breathing.” In the introduction, the poem began with death yet concludes with a form of life. This minor detail puts emphasis on the beauty of living and the contrast between Marilyn Monroe’s dead body and this woman’s lively one. This proves that it does not matter whether you are the most famous person in the world, or just an ordinary individual that gets up and goes to work each day with no one even knowing your name, life comes to an end. I got to know that One way or another every living being’s life comes to an end so try to enjoy it while it lasts. By the end of the poem, we can respect the different stages of emotions the men experienced and can appreciate the gift of life that much more. In the world today, we spend so much time admiring stars and many of us want to be like them. Yet, there is so much pressure placed on them and sometimes this becomes all too much for them to cope with, and they end up taking away their lives. This is the unpleasant and tragic side of being famous as we are all made to believe that fame will make you happy.

The second sentence indicates the focus of the poem: “These men were never the same.” The remainder of the poem describes how the lives of the three paramedics were altered by their encounter with the dead celebrity: One becomes depressed and impotent; one grows alienated from his job and changes his thoughts on mortality; one finds his attitude toward his wife subtly altered. This last line gives the idea that they’re traumatized because she is a star that these men are deeply captivated with Marilyn Monroe even in her passing, expressing some form of longing for her death. This particular poem benefited me in understanding the saying “everything is not what it seems to be” because Marilyn Monroe’s life seemed picture perfect from the outside world but no one knew what was really going on with her personal life. The truth is, in her 36 years of life, she suffered a great deal. According to biographers, her confidence level always hovered around “low.” She wanted children badly, but couldn’t carry a pregnancy to term. She didn’t live happily ever after like her onscreen characters did.

Marilyn Monroe, best known for her beauty, talents, and personality. But beneath the looks, glamour, and fame, Marilyn led a dark life that not many knew about. Before overdosing on drugs, Marilyn had already been divorced three times and had been fired from several movies because of her unpunctuality and inability to work well with others. Like so, When you’re rejected or something doesn’t go your way, propose a new solution. Often, the person declining your offer is not rejecting you. Successful individuals come back from rejection with new proposals. The thing that I learned about the world from this poem is that to always be thick-skinned in your life. There are going to be people along the way who try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame but if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you’ll get where you’re going.


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