Comparison and Constrast Between Characters and Characterization in "Telling Stories" and "You Were Perfectly Fine"

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The characters in a story are the ones who develop the plotline. Moreover, it becomes truly coherent when a significant relationship between the characters and the events is clearly established. In this essay, I shall analyse the characters of “You Were Perfectly Fine,” by Dorothy Parker, and “Telling Stories,” by Maeve Binchy. I will begin with a brief commentary on the background of each author. Subsequently, I shall focus on a comparison and contrast of their method of characterization. On the one hand, Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) was an American writer and poet, and was “…best known for her caustic wit, wisecracks and sharp eye for 20th century urban foibles.” In her stories, she analyzed the social mores or intellectual middle-class people, in particular New Yorkers, specializing in bitterly cynical portrayals of unhappy love affairs. Maeve Binchy (1940), on the other hand, is an Irish novelist, newspaper columnist and speaker. Her books usually deal with timeless problems of Irish women in the 20th century. To begin with, both Andrew and Peter trust each of the women in their stories, as any reader can see when Andrew “…handed their future into her hands…” and when Peter does not question what the girl has understated (that he has proposed to her). The major difference between the two is that, while Andrew is in love with his fiancée (as we are told in the last paragraph), Peter has apparently committed a blunder when he was drunk. This point is reinforced by the camera-eye narrator, who makes no comments on Peter’s feelings, as well as by the last climatic paragraph: “The pale young man looked after her and shook his hand long and slowly, then dropped it in his damp and trembling hands.” Additionally, the women share more similarities than it may seem. They are both in love with the men in their stories, and, each in her own way, tricks him into marriage, in a manner that appears most manipulative. In the case of “You Were Perfectly Fine”, the girl...
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