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An Analysis of a few poems by Dorothy Parker on the topic of men.

By Bentley11 Jan 10, 2003 819 Words
Literature Event

Per. 1st AP English

The poet Dorothy Parker's style is rhyme based. Her poems are short but meaningful in the fact that they make you think beyond just what is written on the page. The first time I read some of her poetry I thought that it was too male centered most of the time. However I still like reading her poems because of the way they made me think, she has a different perspective on topics than I do. That is why I chose to read her poems for my literature event as appeased to another more recognized poet.

The first poem I read was 'Interview' she talks about the ideal woman or what men think an ideal woman is. She writes 'Their candle gives a single light' at first I thought that it meant that they were simple. But then I went on to think that the ideal woman to men isn't simple but she just appears that way to men. Her choice to use the word 'Interview' for the title made me think of women trying to get a job for a secretary. The pretty one that isn't threatening gets the job according to Parker. 'They never sanction the impure, Nor recognize and overture.' A woman that doesn't hear or see evil and doesn't try to correct it is the ideal woman, one who doesn't recognize or overture. Her pattern is simple AABBCCDDEE in this poem. And the flow of the poem is fast, or at least I had to read it fast to get the rhythm scheme right. The last line is 'So far, I've had no complaints.' I felt like she meant that she's played this role before. She says I and there for puts herself in the place of the woman trying to get a job in the poem. Which helped me to realize that she is saying that men don't like to be threatened by women. I don't totally agree with what her point is, but the fact that it made me think is why I liked this particular poem.

The next poem I read was about marriage. It reads...

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.

This poem talks about love and marriage, and how men don't mean what they say. Her view is that of a bitter divorcee I think. The coincidence is that even if he says he loves you and you say it back, it doesn't mean its true that either of you are meaning it. I think her view is dark, and that there are happy homes of two-way streets of love. Parker writes ABABAB in this poem, similar but different from the first poem. She seems to always put her rimes at the end of the line making the speed build up to the last word of the line and sort of trickle off to the next line. Again I don't agree with what she is saying but the fact that she has the guts to say it makes me want to read it.

Another poem with the same rhythm is 'Certain Lady'. In it she expresses how a husband of this certain lady is ignorant to what goes on in her head and while he's away. The poem's ABAB rimes make is seem to jolt from line to every other line, and with the repeating line of 'You'll never know' makes it jump also. The poem 'The Distance' reads similar to that of 'Certain Lady' in that it is ABAB and that she talks about how men are ignorant. The more I read her poetry the more opposed I was to it. At first glance I thought she was a funny feminist, but after a few poems bashing men and their intelligence I find her quite bitter.

The last poem I read of hers was 'Indian Summer'.

Indian Summer

In youth, it was a way I had

To do my best to please,

And change, with every passing lad,

To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know,

And I do the things I do;

And if you do not like me so,

To hell, my love, with you!

The ABAB pattern is still prevalent in this poem. She uses short choppy lines to give a bouncing'esce style to her poems. Again she is bashing men, but not so negatively here. She focuses more on that women should feel fine if a man doesn't like them, to hell with you. I liked this poem the most because it focused more on positive feelings than the rest of her poems. However pessimistic her view was all the poems followed a distinct structure and made me see a view I hadn't before. I appreciate her for opening my eyes to the views of bitter women, I usually just joke about with my sister. I now see humor where I used too not.

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