Analysis Of Telephone Call By Dorothy Parker

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Perspective is everything. Looking at a situation from one point of view does not complete the picture. Details are lost in a single side of the story, and others are exaggerated. The story “Telephone Call” by Dorothy Parker is an example of an internal monologue, which is a very limited point of view. It follows the thought process of a woman waiting by the phone, hoping the man she is interested in will call. In an internal monologue, the inner workings of a person’s mind are heard—their deepest feelings, thought progression and specific mindset are detailed without interference from other people. The limited perspective gives insight into what the narrator is feeling and narrows in on her reactions and thoughts. However, since the narrator…show more content…
The internal monologue tells a lot about the narrator, since every word is chosen by them and no one else. Emotion is also heightened by internal monologues, with all information confined to the narrator’s mind, bouncing back and forth between the walls of their brain. In an internal monologue, perception of character is narrowed to solely how the narrator interacts with herself and the empathy felt by the reader is intensified. Although the only opinion of the narrator in “Telephone Call” is presented by the narrator herself, much can be told about her character from what she says and how she holds her monologue. As a person, she seems to be very high-strung, using repetition like “Please God. Please, please, please,” (15) and other variations of that phrase often throughout the story. Her word choice is very desperate, and repeating the phrase over and over creates a feeling of anxiety that the reader associates with her personality, not necessarily her situation. Overall, the narrator’s concern seems petty, but she makes it out to be a very tense, urgent problem. Saying “[a]nd he said he’d telephone me. He didn’t have to say that. I didn’t ask him to,” (15) paints her as insecure. She overanalyzes every interaction and second guesses…show more content…
Inside of a person’s head, everything is stronger—they have their strongest sense of expression in their own mind. The reader gets to feel the narrator’s emotional at its full, unblemished capacity in her own head. The narrator uses rhetorical questions many times, generally asking the same question: “Are you punishing me, God?” (17). It is a simple, yet powerful question. The narrator is so distraught by the situation she has thought herself into that she feels like a higher power is toying with her. There is no one else in the story to calm her down, so she rolls with this idea, and takes the reader with her. She tries to make sense of the punishment she believes she is being put through, using repetition—“we didn’t hurt anybody…things are only bad when they hurt people…we didn’t hurt one single soul” (17), which creates a pleading tone. The narrator is begging to not be put through this, but the way she does this puts the reader on edge—all of the repetition is unsettling. How earnest she is when she speaks to God in her head makes her seem very unstable, and since the point of view is limited to reading her thoughts and only her thoughts, there is no buffer. The reader experiences only her instability. The ending of the monologue contributes to the eerie emotion flowing through the entire story, with the narrator sending one last plea to God and closing with a count-off (20).
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