Three Girls Midterm

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Ryan McNeal
Professor Glover
English 101 – Midterm
7 October 2010

“Three Girls” Midterm

Joyce Carol Oates wrote the story “Three Girls” in 2002. The story actually takes place on “one snowy evening in 1956” (77). The initial characters in the story are “two NYU girl-poets” (77), but later the reader is introduced to another character that changes the entire story. The two poets are the narrator and the reader who is spoken of using the word “you”. The point of view is first person, but can also been viewed as second person because of the use of the word “you”. The setting of the story is Strand Used Books in New York City. The girls were doing their usual shopping at the bookstore, until they encountered a worldwide celebrity named Marilyn Monroe in the store also rummaging around in search of books. Throughout the book, the theme seems to be secrecy. The end of the book reveals a very big twist that is hard to catch while reading it, even though there are hints and foreshadowing throughout the story. If read more than one time, the reader can pick up on these hints as well as see a relationship between Marilyn Monroe’s decisions and the decisions made by the two female poets. Not only do the poets observe Monroe’s actions, they learn from these actions and it affects the way they continue with their lives. In Oates' "Three Girls", Marilyn Monroe's decision to go out in public allows the two female poets to reveal their homosexuality at the end of the story, a risky decision at this point in time as seen by the author's uses of setting, characters, and symbolism.

The setting of the story is “Strand Used Books on Broadway and Twelfth” (77) in New York City. It was “one snowy March early evening in 1956, just past 6:00 P.M.” (77). The narrator explains the feeling of the setting by saying “The clerk had caught someone slipping a book into an overcoat pocket, not an unusual sight at the Strand” (81). By saying this, the reader can instantly...
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