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Big Blonde Dorothy Parker

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years ago

Big Blonde



                                            Bee Palmer


Within this short story by Dorothy Parker we are given a glimpse in the depressed state of a woman who has discovered that her value of good looks and good "sport" attitude have worn away with age. The woman that is left without those two parts, is broken and unable to recover a new independent identity. She has the sensation of being trapped and desperately seeks to escape it. Her female identity as a the big blonde is not one that she herself really wants to be, it is one that has been prescribed by her society. Her expected place is to be beautiful and sporty in order to find and keep a man and become a wife. When this formula doesn't pan out, and leaves her divorced, old and emotional she finds that she now fits into the negative defintion of the times. Parker's telling of the Big Blonde is a social critique for her time period. She is stepping back and really looking crtically at the roles of women in society as well as what is defined as successful. Hazel Morse starts out as fulfilling her role and it is through her fall from grace that Parker is able to make bold statements about the shortfalls of social expectations in the 1920's.



There is only one song that is referenced in the text and that song is on pg. 196. "Ain't We got Fun" by the The Benson Orchestra Of Chicago from 1921. This song was a popular song and has since become a standard that has been performed by dozens of great singers such as Bing Crosby, Doris Day and Dick Van Dyke. It is also quoted by Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby. The lyrics to this song are about making something out of nothing. The singer plaintaively explains that they have no money but they can still have fun. It talks about how despite their struggle to make ends meet, they will always be able to stay amused. It is very much a contradiction to the manner in which Hazel Morse is living her life. She doesn't see any hope for what's left for her to live and it is no surprise that this song comes up shortly before her botched attempt at suicide. Dorothy Parker's use of this song in her narrative tells me that she wanted to play with the irony that is built into the character of Hazel. She is supposed to be such a good sport, accepting things as they come much like the song suggests and yet her irritation and inability to do so is most evident as the story progresses.





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