Dorothy Parker’s writings are connected to her life in many ways. She grew up in a time where women’s roles where changing in society. She spent most of her life in New York City and most of her stories setting are of that city. She was married young and divorced in a short time, just as the Hazel in The Big Blonde. She was outgoing, sarcastic, and witty in a time when women were supposed to be docile. This style is shown throughout her work but particularly in The Waltz, where the status quo is displayed through the character’s conversation and Parker’s ideals are made known through the woman’s inter monologue. She combats a typical stereotype through mocking, in The Standard of Living. In this story the average woman is shown, as silly and almost material person. This work breaks the normalcy of the day by having them dress a little more risqué and being more independent. Dorothy Parker lets her sarcastic, ironic, dry humor shine a light on the inner workings of the woman and the plight they have with society.
The Big Blonde tells the story of Hazel Morse, a woman who is trapped in city culture. The city culture is dominated by males and is isolated and uncompassionate. Set in the 1920s, the story tells of how men fulfill their expected duty of holding a daily job while women are expected to be a source of entertainment as well as “good sports”. Drinking heavily is a normal part of society and is used mostly to forget about life’s woes. The only “duty” for a woman in this time period is to find a husband and keep him happy. Hazel Morse is the protagonist of the story. She is a big breasted, bubbly, blonde woman who finds herself in a precarious position. She finds herself trying...
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...till be miserable.
Annabel and Midge in The Standard of Living are trapped in a different way. Parker uses this innocent image of girls playing a game to show how ridiculous stereotypes are. They are confined to games for amusement. They have revolving boyfriends and they have jobs. They are the new workingwoman but still have some of the qualities of the old fashioned model. Parker is showing they both can exist at the same time. This is not a commonly held notion in society, either you are one or the other. No matter which way they are seen they are misperceived.
Parker uses the theme of entrapment to illustrate the confinement of women in society. They don’t have to be shallow and content, but yet they don’t have to work a 40-hour workweek and never marry. She is trying to say that women can be a little of both, and uses her sarcasm to prove it.
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