No One's a Mystery, by Elizabeth Tallent

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In, "No One's a Mystery," by Elizabeth Tallent, a very naive eighteen-year old girl, who remains unnamed, neglects to realize the truth that is so plainly laid out before her. She is riding with Jack, and older married man with whom she has been having sex with for the past two years, and fiddling with the birthday present she received from him; a five year diary. A Cadillac that looks like his wife's is coming toward them, so he shoves her onto the floorboard of his filthy truck. Jack and his wife exchange subtle gestures as they pass, and the young girl is then given permission to get back onto the seat. When she asks how he knows his wife won't look back and see her Jack replies, "I just know...Like I know I'm going to get meatloaf for supper...Like I know what you'll be writing in that diary." Jack proceeds to tell her that within a couple of years she will not even to be able to recall his name or remember what interested her in him, other than the sex. Contrary to what Jack knows is true, the young girl imagines a sort of fairy tale life where she and Jack have a family and live happily ever after. She is totally oblivious to the truth that is so blatantly staring her in the face. Tallent demonstrates the way our heart and mind work together to blind us of the truth if we are not mature enough to see through the self created facade and face reality.

The girl in this story is incredibly naive. Her character is very weak due to her inability to realize the inevitable. This creates the internal conflict in which she faces. By the usage of first-person point of view, Tallent enables the reader to realize the obvious truth that this girl refuses to see. The entire setting takes place in a small town, where there is "nothing else to do," inside of Jack's dirty old pickup truck, and symbolizes the filthiness of their sex based relationship.

Tallent skillfully uses figurative imagery to support each element and enforce the central idea throughout the story. The song playing in the truck, "Nobody's into me, no one's a mystery," is a perfect indicator of what the girl is refusing to hear.

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