Francis scott fitzgerald response for literature fldr
Weekes 1 Response to “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” By F. Scott Fitzgerald 1. Biography Francis Scott Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He iswell known for the novels: “This Side of Paradise”, “The Great Gatsby”, “The Beautiful and theDamned”, “Tender is the Night”, and “The Love of the Last Tycoon”. His short story collectionsinclude: Flappers and Philosophers, Tales of the Jazz Age, All the Sad Young Men, Taps atReveille, the Pat Hobby Stories and The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald.Tales of the Jazz Age was his second collection of Short Stories. “The Diamond as Big as theRitz” in this collection was one of his greatest stories.“The short story, “Bernice Bobs Her Hair”, was written in 1920 in the month of May and firstpublished in the Saturday Evening Post. After this, it appeared in the collection, Flappers andPhilosophers.His short stories include, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, “The Offshore Pirate,” “Bernicebobs Her Hair”, “The Offshore Pirate”, “The Ice Palace” among many others.His book was “The Crack Up” 2. SUMMARY This story is about Bernice, the wealthy cousin of Marjorie. Bernice is from Wisconsinand goes to visit Marjorie during the summer month of August. Bernice is a burden on hercousin’s social life. She can’t dance and doesn’t seem to be able to attract the boys. In fact she issuch a deadbeat that Marjorie has to beg boys to dance with Bernice. Eventually Berniceoverhears Marjorie complaining to her mom about her and is devastated. She tries to bluff that
Weekes 2she is going back home, but Marjorie is unmoved by her protestations. In face she seems relievedthat Bernice is about to get out of her life. Bernice recants and becomes a willing student ofMarjorie’s. Marjorie teaches her how to dance, flirt and ensnare the interest of boys. She doesthis with great success until Warren, Marjorie’s beau, is hooked on Bernice as well. This alarmsMarjorie and she sets out to expose Bernice and trap her into bobbing her hair. Actually bobbingher hair was one of the fads of the times and Marjorie gave Bernice the line to capture theinterest of the boys. It was to be a bluff; however, Marjorie calls Bernice’s bluff. When Bernicedecides to go through with it, the story climaxes and the unexpected occurs. The ending has atruly bizarre and humorous twist that many readers will enjoy.. 3. THE PLOT The story flows smoothly and rapidly. Conversation ,description of characters, conflict orrather the confrontation of Marjorie and the ensuing conflict that follows are all events that movethe story along. I found the author’s use of language to be awesome. However his word choice indicates amuch higher vocabulary than that which I hear in daily usage and his Americanisms are difficultfor a non- American or an American from another era to understand. The events seemed to flow quite effortlessly and were so realistic or natural that you feelas though Fitzgerald is describing either his own life or the lives of people that he has witnessedfirst hand. The conflict is quite effective in that it portrays` a genuine conflict that could occurbetween two cousins. It is indeed practical and plausible.. I mean from the disgust that Marjoriefeels over Bernice’s outmoded style and approach to socializing to Bernice’s chopping off ofMarjorie’s pigtails in revenge. Revenge surely is a true to life theme here.
Weekes 3I found the climax to be riveting. It was a classic peer, pressure situation coupled with a motif ofjealousy and pure hate. I could feel Bernice’s despair as she sought to escape from the snare.Marjorie had so calculatingly laid for her. The tension was tangible as Bernice faced thechallenge of being damned if she bobbed her hair and damned if she didn’t. It was a classic two-way trap reminiscent of a tic-tac-toe game. The resolution satisfies one’s innate desire for equilibrium. How could Marjorie manipulateBernice to such lengths, causing her to gain then lose everything at no cost to herself (Marjorie)After seemingly extricating herself from the first backfiring of her manipulation, would she beallowed to get away with Bernice’s disfiguring of her own beauty? No, the justice felt poetic,when Marjorie was made to pay for her evil ways. 4. MAIN CHARACTERS 4.1 Marjorie Marjorie is bold, confident, fearless and adventurous. She is an uninhibited female who basically, like a gardenia, adopts the live fast and die young philosophy. She is cold and calloused. Her flaw is that like the dog in the manger, she doesn’t want Warren but can’t bear to see someone else have him. She exhibits supreme selfishness viz. she must be the ‘queen bee’ all the time. No one else must rule the roost. Her jealousy and cold calculating heart is revealed when she attempts to destroy the very thing se built. She tries to destroy Bernice right in front of Warren. She is clearly the antagonist in the story, pushing Bernice beyond the limits of her fine upbringing. 4.2 Warren Warren is a dutiful minion of Marjorie’s. He fawns over her even though he knows she is gouging his eyes out. He reveals a weak character that like a hyena, accepts the
Weekes 4 scraps of prey left over by the greater predator. In this case that predator happens to be Marjorie. Warren is there waiting to take her back after all her wanderings and swinging. To make matters worse instead of outright dumping her he falls for her cousin and is unable to see that she is simply a creature of Marjorie the puppeteer. He’s weak, wishy- washy and indecisive. One can see why Marjorie ‘forgets him ‘his character is not strong enough to leave a lasting impression on her dominant, free-spirited character. 4.3 Bernice Bernice is a well-cultured, traditional feminine young lady. She is respectable and lacks the gay abandon the recklessness of her cousin. She might even be a bit prim and proper, too stiff for the lively vivacious life of Marjorie and the Jazz Age. Bernice is also weak and gullible. She allows herself to be molded by such a cold uncaring character as Marjorie. Her desire to be popular and accepted drives her to abandon the solid culturing she received from home. In fact she is unable to face the consequences of her actions. She steals away in the middle of the night. Though she musters the courage to perform the most dastardly act on Marjorie, she is unable to face her after. Bernice is clearly the protagonist in the story. She is the character that has soul, you feel with her and empathize with her in her success and her failure, her triumph and tragedy. She is the one you ultimately desire to emerge victorious. 5. THEME The main theme is about a conflict between a wealthy, respectable, attractive, girl,reflecting traditional feminine values which render her incapable of socializing and hervivacious, common, fun loving, cousin from a lower class, reflecting the gay abandon of theliberated females during the ‘roaring twenties’. The lower class cousin actually wields social
Weekes 5power over her hapless traditional cousin. The poorer cousin holds the keys to a successful sociallife in the modern era which the wealthy outdated cousin cannot buy.Then we have the theme of Jealousy where Bernice becomes such a success that Marjorie’s planbackfires and Warren her beau, is attracted to Bernice now. Marjorie’s jealousy drives the storyto its climax. 6. Conclusion I enjoyed the story. I t stimulated my thinking and actually drew me back to my late teen-age years. The conflict between Bernice and Marjorie was quite real. Marjorie reminds me ofone of my elder sisters. I could really see her doing the makeover demands on outdated youngladies. I was also able to identify with the boredom of Marjorie and her desire to see Bernice goback home. The ‘tied down’ feeling of Marjorie is a real experience that youths feel when placedin similar situations. It this case it is cousins, but this conflict often happens between sisters! Itwas a true to life, must read, one sitting story..I recommend this story to teenagers between ages 14-20 in our society. I think our girls and boysare maturing much earlier than the characters listed in the story and some of the conflicts visitedhere are taking place at a much younger age. I believe the 14-20 age group would be better ableto identify with the characters.
Weekes 6 Works CitedMerriman, C.D. The Literature Network. Biography on F.Scott Fitzgerald. 2007. 31st May 2010Shmoop. n.d. Literature, Bernice Bobs Her Hair n.d. Web. 31 May 2010 http://www.shmoop.com/bernice-bobs-her-hairShmoop n.d. Literature, Bernice Bobs Her Hair Plot Analysis n.d. Web. 31 May 2010http://www.shmoop.com/bernice-bobs-her-hair/plot-analysis.html