Mockery of Victorian Values in Hecht's Parody, Dover Beach

Mockery of Victorian Values in Hecht's Parody, Dover Beach

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Hecht's parody "Dover Bitch" is a mockery of Victorian values shown in "Dover

Beach", as well as those of his own period. Hecht candidly exaggerates the

speech, ideas and symbols in "Dover Beach.".

 

The first evidence of Hecht's mockery is of  speech at the beginning when he

writes " There stood Matthew Arnold and his girl......All over, etc., etc.". He

take the soft calming words of Arnold and gives them a harsh New Jersey accent.

His representation of  an educated woman sets the reader up to think that the

woman will not sit quietly and be told what to do by her husband. But when "she

said one or two unprintable things" he  took away her right to speak. Thus

plunging  her  back to Arnold's Victorian classification that women should sit

quietly and ingest her husbands opinions. This might also symbolize the

feministic movements of the early sixties. Hecht's view might have been that

women could have equality to men, but its not important enough to let them talk

about it. His display of faithfulness in the women's unfaithfulness is also a

reaction to the Victorian idea that the wife should be there for her husband. It

could also be a scary reality in Hecht's mind that times were changing and women

wouuld not be at every beaconing call of their husband.  Hecht reinforces his

Ideas of change by taking Arnold's "...the cliffs of England stand, glimmering

and vast" and transforms the Victorian idea of women into "...cliffs of England

crumbling away behind them,". This supports the idea that Hecht is aware of the

changes that are happening and he is envious of the way things used to be.

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In short, Hecht uses the Victorian values shown in Arnold's "Dover Beach" as a

comparison to the changes of values of his time. Hecht brings reality to

Arnold's romantic poem. But in reality, Hecht is displaying his views and

concerns about changes that have occurred in the value system of his time.

Furthermore, Hecht shows envy of the  romantic  time portrayed in "Dover Beach".
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