No One's a Mystery, by Elizabeth Tallent

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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Although Jack's character embodies the image of a typical redneck scumbag; he is still an honest piece of trash. His character reinforces her disregard for the truth by the figurative imagery that can be found in his words. Jack says, "No little kids get into this truck except for you" and "You even sound like a kid." He certainly does not see her as a woman. In his eyes, she is just a child who is caught up in a fairy tale that he knows has no truth to it. When she asks him which story, pertaining to their lives in the future, the he likes best, he replies, "I like yours...but I believe mine." This should be a huge indicator that he is not into her. She should see that he is just as filthy as the old poop covered boots he has on and the truck she is riding in. As the reader, we plainly see the facts, but because of this illusion she has created, she ignores his words' real meanings and continues to see what she wants to see; an immature view of a future that will never come to be.
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