Don’t Bother To Knock

is a candidate for Feminist Nightmare of 1952. Woman is stigmatized for her erotic nature. Jim Backus’ character quips, “all I know is what I read in the papers” [and]

Marilyn Monroe personifies an ideal female intellect, appearance, speech, behavior, dress, taste, gesture and dependence. I felt cognitive dissonance when evil peeped through Marilyn’s passivity; fear and disgust but not with the erotic, which evokes pleasantly lascivious feelings but at the incongruity of erotic attraction and murderous, thoughtless, predatory evil. 

The title, in the vernacular, “don’t bother to knock” characterizes female passivity. Females in the story include a girl of 10, an adolescent, unbalanced Monroe and Anne Bancroft. 

Lyn (Bancroft) to Jed (Widmark) "It's over."
Lyn (Anne Bancroft) to Jed (Richard Widmark) “It’s over.”

The authentic vulnerability Monroe portrays led me to reflect that, unlike her character, I gave no conscious attention to the future I was creating. Narratives promulgated in media, churches and temples supported  life having a purpose, even beyond death and a living human being personifies expression of faith. Monroe’s character is faithful. Religion isn’t needed to keep the faith but is a reminder that faith defines human being, however, religion is a narrative that validates the idea of a meaningful life.

(Belief in the state is religious, as politicians know: Stalin, Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary could affirm, after a couple martinis.)

My emotional cognition when viewing this film, brought up memories of when I’ve been unable to act on or even to speak of my desire, not unlike Widmark’s portrayal of Jed, self-protective; afraid of being used  in preparation for abandonment. Monroe’s portrayal of Nell’s confusion as faith encounters the irony of not admitting knowledge or knowing in what way life could be meaningful when love is neither durable nor trustworthy. Choosing on appearances, wanting to believe feelings but not trusting them, I learned I can get the love I can afford to pay for, dependent, helpless and terrified by my weakness and vulnerability in the face of it.

Nell (Monroe) & Eddie (Cook)
Nell (Monroe) & Eddie (Cook)

Not long ago, I viewed a YouTube video of Marilyn Monroe’s last filmed interview and I found a statement published by the last writer to have interviewed her, the day before she died.

Widmark & Monroe
Widmark & Monroe

In the filmed interview, she clearly explained the nature of the collaboration of a director and an actor.

Marilyn Monroe as Nell
Marilyn Monroe as Nell

I got no feeling of connection in the narrative between the writer and Monroe in the written interview but I felt a too familiar remorse.

At work, composing.
At work, composing.

A reminder that I became hyper-vigilant after unusual circumstances of my birth and of the first 3 years of life, when my mother, unable to care for me, first gave me to her sister, then to an orphanage. My older brother took misguided advantage of my weakness in creating his own misguided relationship strategy.

Survival left me keenly observant but distrustful, with expectations of abandonment and a strategy that continued to create this experience without knowing when or how I produce this result in relationships. I couldn’t admit the imperfection or the shame at my helplessness and dependence and that I felt my existence had been imposed on our mother by her love.

Repeated experiences of abandonment justify the need for hyper-vigilance. Shame was also validated by media and envy of the success of others, and supported by pleasure at the failure of others, confounding compassion since this feeling of pleasure makes me complicit in their plight. Morality and ethics seemed a matter of knowing what I can get away with. Since, I project abandonment and rejection, I’m also vulnerable to those who see it, making their revenge a part of the strategy: all that is required is to desire love and the situation arises. My brilliant mind.

I wish she was still around: mother and Marilyn.

The End

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