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“The Creature From the Black Lagoon” by Lois Banner Literature Analysis

In her essay The creature from the black lagoon, Lois Banner has picked up the theme of whiteness and try to give it meaning based on the life of the popular 1930’s public figure that was Marilyn Monroe. To this end, Banner has divided the concept of whiteness into five analyzable categories all revolving around the character of Marilyn Monroe.

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The categories are White as a color, Whiteness as related to the blonde representation of Marilyn Monroe, White in relation to Marilyn Monroe’s public appeal, Whiteness as presented by racial themes in Marilyn Monroe’s films and the whiteness presented in Marilyn Monroe’s image in relation to feminism.

In her analysis of the color white, Banner presents the usage of the color especially in film in the 1930s. According to her, white was used in films to enable the characters to stand out visually. This was because the film standards and the technology of the time could only permit for very little color manipulation. Outside the film circles, white was seen as a sign of purity, cleanliness, and simplicity. Banner also picks out order and rationality as a meaning of whiteness represented by Greek sculptures.

The blonde representation of Marilyn Monroe in her films was enhanced in order to sell her character even more. Banner says that even though Marilyn was initially opposed to the idea of an all-blonde lifestyle, she later came to embrace it fully on realizing the fame and publicity it was bringing her. The essay also concludes that the blonde look fully taken up by Monroe served to present her character in the film in a more dramatic sense; something which the founders of Technicolor had noticed would serve to capture the attention of the public.

The appeal of Marilyn Monroe to audiences of varied races has also been highlighted by Banner as a factor of whiteness. The author agrees that from a generalist point of view, the whiteness presented by Marilyn Monroe may have had a racist connotation.

She, however, goes ahead to dispute this contention by explaining that Marilyn Monroe had many African American fans and she (Marilyn) claimed to have had an affair with an African American years before. Other than this, Marilyn supported the activities of leftist parties and this served to neutralize the racist view that had been linked to her look.

The presentation of racism in Marilyn Monroe’s films has also been discussed. By citing several works such as Richard Dyer’s essay Marilyn Monroe’s whiteness, Banner seeks to dispute that certain aspects of the film were intentionally presented in a particular way to front racist ideas. She picks out a scene from the film That Old Black Magic where a cowboy defines paleness and whiteness as angelic.

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She supports her argument that Monroe’s skin color had to be stepped up a few notches towards white for the character she was playing to make sense. Banner also defends Marilyn’s quote that she wanted to be white all over as being related to sexuality and not racism.

Marilyn Monroe’s performance at John F. Kennedy’s birthday by the virtue that it came after the likes of Harry Belafonte had performed shows that she could not have possibly been racist. According to the banner, Marilyn may have been subconsciously supporting the civil rights movement.

Finally, according to Banner, whiteness was also prominent in Marilyn Monroe’s character as a representation of her femininity and sexuality. Citing her performance at JFK’s birthday, the dressing that Monroe adopted for the event served as a masquerade for her feminine self in the eyes of individuals who saw her as a rebel.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, May 1). “The Creature From the Black Lagoon” by Lois Banner Literature Analysis. https://studycorgi.com/the-creature-from-the-black-lagoon-by-lois-banner-literature-analysis/

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"“The Creature From the Black Lagoon” by Lois Banner Literature Analysis." StudyCorgi, 1 May 2020, studycorgi.com/the-creature-from-the-black-lagoon-by-lois-banner-literature-analysis/.

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StudyCorgi. "“The Creature From the Black Lagoon” by Lois Banner Literature Analysis." May 1, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/the-creature-from-the-black-lagoon-by-lois-banner-literature-analysis/.

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "“The Creature From the Black Lagoon” by Lois Banner Literature Analysis." May 1, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/the-creature-from-the-black-lagoon-by-lois-banner-literature-analysis/.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) '“The Creature From the Black Lagoon” by Lois Banner Literature Analysis'. 1 May.

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