Short Story 'Three Girls' By Joyce Oates

Words: 1094
Pages: 5

In the 1950's, new rebellious revolution occurred such as playboy magazines, birth control pills, and sexuality being more openly expressed. During the rebellious time, homosexuality was not accepted by a bit of society. Homophobia did come from post WWII feelings, but it was generally an unheard of nature that would appall many civilians. These feelings allowed for many people to feel they were not able to express their true selves. In Joyce Oates short story titled “Three Girls,” Oates addresses this controversial issue of the time by hiding the meaning within her words. The story takes place in 1956 at a used bookstore called, Strand Used Books. There are three characters which gives the story its title; the two girls and Marilyn Monroe …show more content…
The first conflict being the two girls conflicted between if the woman they see in the bookstore is Marilyn Monroe or not, “Someone we knew? An older, good looking student from one of our classes?…. And I saw that she was Marilyn Monroe” (Oates 93). One of the girls nudges the other to look at the girl they spot. They know that they recognize her, but she looks as if she is just like them. When they realize its Marilyn, they are in amazement at how she was in such a disguise. Now the girls knows its Marilyn and are conflicted as to if they should approach her or protect her identity, “Oh, we worried at Marilyn's recklessness! We dreaded her being recognized by a (male) customer or (male) clerk” (Oates 95). When the girls watch how she is behaving like the two of them, they think she wants to be like them. They know that she cannot be unnoticed by fans and worry for her security. The conflict is if they should approach her or protect her identity. Even when protecting her identity, they feel as if they need a plot on how to help her continue to be like the two of them, unnoticed, within the bookstore. Along with the observing of Marilyn, they notice that she is different than they would expect of her. They discuss how she is a lot like the two of them. Marilyn isn’t a conventional woman and does not need a man. This shows the second and most important conflict being if the two friends are in a relationship or not. The girl speaking says, “But no man joined Marilyn Monroe in her disguise as one of us in the Strand. No Leading Man, no dark prince. Like us (we began to see) this Marilyn Monroe required no man” (Oates 94). Although Oates character dialogue doesn’t clearly state it, we see a bit of romantic confusion between the two girls. We begin to see how these girls fix