They shrink from powders and from paints. So far, I have had no complaints. Interview deals mainly with the subject of relationships. In Interview, Dorothy Parker ponders why certain ladies seem attractive to men despite qualities that Parker sees as redundant and thoughtless. Ladies who Parker says Would shudder at a wicked word, and, not keep awake till three, Nor read erotic poetry. seem to possess a quality, or perhaps lack one, which makes them attractive. While asking this question in a sarcastic manner, Dorothy Parker seems to loathe these types of women for their condition. In turn, Dorothy values her own character and shows no remorse for her abilities as she states, So far, I have had no complaints.
Mrs. Parker’s vision of herself as an intelligent, well-rounded woman who is under appreciated by the opposite sex exposes an underlying problem, which existed in the early twentieth century and continues today in sections of society. Consider the satire of Pictures in the Smoke Oh, gallant was the first love, and glittering and fine; The second love was water, in a clear white cup; The third love was his, and the fourth was mine; And after that, I always get them all mixed up The inability of the persona here to rescue even her first lover- to award him reality- is a certain indication of the hollowness of her own self, of her attitude towards love. The poem is clearly self-condemning. But Dorothy Parkers poems are also fun. In assessing both the absurdity of human behaviour generally and the foolishness of her personae in particular.
Resume Razors pain you; Rivers are damp; Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp. Guns aren’t lawful; Nooses give; Gas smells awful; You might as well live. Simplicity of diction, clarity of stance, easiness of rhyme, and settled ness of form and presentation run through all her poems. Her strength lies in her distanced tone and clever observations. Unfortunate Coincidence By the time you swear you’re his, Shivering and sighing, And he vows his passion is Infinite, undying – Lady, make a note of this: One of you is lying. The New Love is essentially negative, its wit grounded in a rueful attitude, self-depreciation and world worn cynicism; the poem has a kind of half hearted cheerfulness. The New Love If it shine or if it rain, Little will I care or know. Days, like drops upon a pane, Slip, and join, and go. At my door’s another lad; Here’s his flower in my hair. If he see me pale and sad, Will he see me fair? I sit looking at the floor.
Little will I think or say If he seek another door; Even if he stay. The verse, Inscription For the Ceiling of a Bedroom, seems to focus her mind on the endless and dull cycle of everyday life. Mrs. Parker questions the habit of waking up every day and trying to walk in blinded woe, as she says. At the end of the verse Dorothy refers to herself as a fool for waking up every day and attempting this journey through life. The concept of life in Dorothy Parker’s interpretation seems to coincide with working jobs, relationships with others , and even her own self security in her position in life. One could understand her questioning of such things if she indeed felt trapped in her previous line of work and unable to express her opinions on all situations. Inscription for the Ceiling of a Bedroom Daily dawns another day; I must up, to make my way. Though I dress and drink and eat, Move my fingers and my feet, Learn a little, here and there, Weep and laugh and sweat and swear, Hear a song, or watch a stage, Leave some words upon a page, Claim a foe, or hail a friend – Bed awaits me at the end.
Though I go in pride and strength, I’ll come back to bed at length. Though I walk in blinded woe, Back to bed I’m bound to go. High my heart, or bowed my head, All my days but lead to bed. Up, and out, and on; and then Ever back to bed again, Summer, Winter, Spring, and Fall – I’m a fool to rise at all! Prophetic Soul Because your eyes are slant and slow, Because your hair is sweet to touch, My heart is high again; but oh, I doubt if this will get me much. This poem is confessional yet highly disciplined, conversational yet poetically rendered, the work displays a controlled imagination. Distanced reflection and careful analysis merge. Shrewd and fastidious, in modulated language and tight form, trenchant humor opposing clichd love conventions surprises, engages and amuses us, as in Words of Comfort to be Scratched on a Mirror Helen of Troy had a wandering glance; Sappho’s restriction was only the sky; Ninon was ever the chatter of France; But oh, what a good girl am I! In the verse, One Perfect Rose, Dorothy switches her focus to the opposite end of the spectrum and probes the actions of a male from her past. In this verse, she questions a single rose, which she received from the man in question. Although she speaks of the man’s intentions, his emotions, the rose and its qualities in an adoring manner, Dorothy eventually asks why she has never received a limousine and then ponders her luck in matters such as this.
Although this verse comes to us in a light hearted, comedic fashion, one eventually wonders of Dorothy Parker’s true meanings of whether she feels blessed or forsaken. Mrs. Parker’s apparent intentions seem to lead the reader to questions of Dorothy’s own self worth. Whether this effect was intentional or not, the verse, as all of Dorothy’s others, seem to be made for the people with the ‘pathos’ in mind. Although Mrs. Parker hints towards these issues, her stable vehicle for these ideas remains the rose, which even today remains a staple of romantic gestures. A single flow’r he sent me, since we met. All tenderly his messenger he chose; Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet- One perfect rose. I knew the language of the floweret; My fragile leaves, it said, his heart enclose. Love long has taken for his amulet One perfect rose.
Why is it no one ever sent me yet One perfect limousine, do you suppose? Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get One perfect rose. Finally, in a title which fits her work, Portrait of the Artist , Dorothy gives the reader a peak at her life as a writer and poet. Oh, lead me to a quiet cell, Dorothy states as she describes a setting in which an artist , presumably Dorothy , wants to be placed in a room cut off from the outside world and its self pleasing views. After describing this process, Dorothy states Come back in a half hour or so , And I will be in trouble. Here , Dorothy gives the reader who might fear or ponder her methods a chance to ponder his or her own opinion of Dorothy. The statement seems to come in a more outward view of Dorothy rather than from Dorothy herself.
This gives the reader a chance to see Mrs. Parker’s feelings towards others who do not understand her work or views. All in all, the verse expresses the same desire to bare her soul now that her work has become more self reflective. Oh, lead me to a quiet cell Where never footfall rankles, And bar the window passing well, And gyve my wrists and ankles. Oh, wrap my eyes with linen fair, With hempen cord go bind me, And, of your mercy, leave me there, Nor tell them where to find me. Oh, lock the portal as you go, And see its bolts be double… Come back in half an hour or so, And I will be in trouble. And Observation echoes the female sentiment of the age. If I don’t drive around the park, I’m pretty sure to make my mark. If I’m in bed each night by ten. I may get back my looks again. If I abstain from fun and such. I’ll probably amount to much; But I shall stay the way I am. Because I do not give a damn.
In the best of this book, Dorothy Parker is already the most accomplished classical epigrammatist of her time. In Conclusion Dorothy Parkers work was clearly a product of its times even as it on occasion transcends them. She brought her own life to her work; from her use of precision of detail, purity of language, and economy of expression, her poetry took on a maturity, clarity of tone and compactness of form. She saw the range of humour stretching from open sarcasm to a tired and mordant stoicism, and her poetry reflects this wider perspective. Her poems, Corey Ford has observed, were exquisite cameos, poignant and haunting as well as sudden comic reversals.