Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967)
Dorothy Parker was one of the most successful and influential women writers of her era. Dorothy Rothschild was born on August 22, 1893 in West End, N.J. Her mother was Scottish and her father Jewish. She was “a late unexpected arrival in a loveless family”. At the age of four her mother died. Her father remarried and Dorothy’s home life was strained and distant at best. She was educated in private schools in N.J. and N.Y.C. Dorothy suffered two tragedies as a young woman. Her brother Henry died aboard the Titanic and a year later her father passed away. Dorothy moved to New York City in 1911 where she lived in a boarding house and worked as a piano player at a dance school. At the age of 21 she began submitting her writing to various magazines and papers. Her poem “Any Porch” was accepted and published by Vanity Fair. A few months later she was hired by Vogue, a sister publication of Vanity Fair. While working at Vogue her submissions to Vanity Fair continued to be published. After two years of working at Vogue she was transferred to Vanity Fair. In 1917 she married Edwin Parker, a stock broker. The marriage only lasted a brief time, but now she was Mrs. Dorothy Parker. At Vanity Fair she became New York’s only female drama critic at the time. In the spring of 1919 she was invited to the Algonquin Hotel because of her connections at Vanity Fair and her reputation as a drama critic. This was the beginning of the famous Algonquin Round Table, a renowned intellectual literary circle. Dorothy was the only female founding member. It brought together such writers as Robert Benchley, Robert Sherwood, James Thurber, George Kaufman and many others. Dorothy was still writing for Vanity Fair but her reviews were becoming increasingly sarcastic and unfavorable. She was fired from the magazine in 1921. To earn money she began writing subtitles for a movie by D.W. Griffith.
Dorothy soon found another job at the magazine Ainslee’s where she could be as sarcastic, bitchy, and witty as she pleased. In 1922 she wrote her first short story – “Such a PrettyLittle Picture” – this was the beginning of her literary career. In January of 1924 Dorothy divorced and moved into the Algonquin Hotel. She began writing plays; “Close Harmony” was her first. The first issue of The New Yorker was published in early 1925 and Dorothy contributed drama reviews and poetry for the first few issues. In February of 1926 she set off for Paris, but continued contributing articles to the New Yorker and Life. While in France she befriended Earnest Hemingway; surprisingly, considering his male chauvinist attitudes. Dorothy returned to New York in November. Her first book of poetry, “Enough Rope”, was published and received favorable reviews as well ad being a commercial success. In 1927 she became very involved in the Sacco and Vanzetti trial. She travelled to Boston to join the protests against the execution of two innocent men. During the protest she was arrested but refused to travel in the paddy wagon, insisting on walking to jail. She was a committed socialist from this day until her death.
In October Dorothy became the book reviewer for the “The New Yorker Magazine”, under the title “The Constant Reader”. In February of 1929 Dorothy’s short story “The Big Blonde” was published and she won the prestigious O.Henry award for the best short story of the year. That same year Dorothy began doing screen writing in Hollywood. She moved to Hollywood because she needed the money and was offered a contract by MGM. Dorothy wrote many screenplays over the next decade. In 1933 she once again travelled to Europe where she met her second husband Alan Campbell. He was also of Scottish-Jewish descent, and a rumored bisexual. They became screen writing partners and signed a contract with Paramount Pictures in 1935. In 1936 she helped found the Anti Nazi League. In 1937 Dorothy won an academy award for her joint screenplay of “A Star is Born”.
Throughout the 1940’s Dorothy continued writing prose and short stories along with screenplays. She was widely published in many magazines and Viking released an anthology of her short stories and prose. In 1949 she divorced Alan Campbell, but later they remarried.
In the 1950’s she was called before the House on un-American Activities and pleaded the first instead of the fifth, still refusing to name any names. In 1952-1953 testimony was given against her before the HUAC. From 1957-1963 she worked as a book reviewer for Esquire magazine. In 1959 she was inducted into American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was a distinguished Visiting Professor of English at California State College in L.A. In 1964 she published her final magazine piece in November’s issue of Esquire.
On June 7, 1967, she was found dead of a heart attack in her room at Hotel Volney in New York City. She bequeathed her entire literary estate to the NAACP.
The Last Tea portrays two people, a man and a woman, taking tea together. They start off by discussing the dance that happened the previous night. The guy runs off the mouth by gushing over the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen – “a real looker”, as he put it. The woman is hurt by this and puts up a front by saying she met this gorgeous, hunk of a guy whom she says wants to take her on a date. As the story progresses, each other’s own story progresses respectively – specifically, the woman starts to say that she’s booked for the next month with dates, and the guy says basically the same thing. Then in a weird end for the story, the woman leaves asking the guy to call her if he has time for tea any time.
It’s a well known fact that the purpose of a writer of fiction is to reproduce in the reader his own thoughts and feelings, to make the reader visualize and feel what he wants him to visualize and feel. That is why depending on the contents and aim of the utterance author used the style of fiction. The text is written in the form of dialogue and the author used colloquial speech: short, elliptical sentences, with clauses connected asyndetically. D.Parker used speech of a personages – as a type of narration – which is used in the form of dialogue, where personages express their minds in the form of uttered speech.
The choice and arrangement of appropriate words and sentences patterns, the use of various stylistic expressive means to a great extent determine the effect the literary production will have on the reader. The author used graphons (the intonation violation of the graphical shape of a word combination used to reflect its authentic pronunciation) as author’s shortening which gets acquainted us with the slang of native speakers. E.g. “Whadda matter?” feelin’ mizzable.
In order to express the feelings strongly the author used interjections which can exist in language as conventional symbols of human emotions. E.g. “Oh, I’m ruined. “Oh, goodness!” “Oh, that’s all right Oh, I’m all shot”. “Oh, I’m poisoned”.
Speaking about the general character of the sentences D.Parker used short and not full sentences: “Oh, really?” she said. “Oh, listen, I knew I had something to ask you. Did you call me up last night, by any chance?” Also author used some long composite sentences with a number of attributive and coordinate clauses joined by means of the conjunctions and without them. E.g. I’ve heard people say she was sort of nice-looking, if she wouldn’t make up so much. For some crazy reason or other, he’s got it into his head that I’ve got beautiful eyes, and, well, he just kept talking about them till I didn’t know where to look, I was so embarrasse. In addition, the author used short exclamatory sentences which are appropriate to the dialogue speech. E.g. Terrible! Dance! Can she step! Imagine!
It should be mentioned that repetition is often used in this style to lay greater emphasis on the statements so that the listeners could grasp the full significance of what he or she says. In this story we can meet the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or sentences (anaphora). E.g. I’m poisoned. I’m through. I’m off the stuff for life. What a night! What an evening!
The author also used such SD as inversion in order to emphasize on the statement. E.g. Say, there was somebody there said they knew you. Say, haven’t I been told about her before.
Here we can find also decomposition of set phrases, the meaning of which is understood only from the combination as a whole. E.g. Dying for a cup of tea. Burn your clothes, baby. Keep your hair on.
D.Parker used detachment as a specific arrangement of sentence members based on singling out a secondary member of a sentence with the help of punctuation and intonation. E.g. I expect to. I’ve got to rush!, I was out dancing myself, last night. Wally Dillon and I, Wally’s crazy! The things he says!
Among lexical stylistic means we find the following figures of speech used in the text: an epithet, a metaphor, a simile, an oxymoron and hyperbole.
Epithet is a stylistic device showing the purely individual emotional attitude of the writer or the speaker towards the object mentioned. E.g. Beautiful eyes, mizzarable. Poor boy.
A metaphor is based on the principal of identification of the object, e.g. I was dying for a cup of tea, I’m off the stuff for life, I’m ruined, Burn your clothes, baby, I must have been fried pretty, I’ve got to fly.
Simile is a figure of speech which draws comparison between two different objects in one or more aspects and ideas belonging by the words “look”, “as…as”. E.g: I got as red as a brick, I must look as a wreck.
Oxymoron is a combination of two words in which the meaning of the two clashes, being opposite in sense, e.g. perfectly terrible.
Another SD which is also has the function of intensifying one certain property of the object described is hyperbole. E.g. He’s called me up about a hundred times today.
5.4.1.Stylistic analysis of the text “Cat in the Rain” (byErnest Hemingway)
Ernest Miller Hemingway(July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist, short-story writer and journalist. He was born in 1899 in Chicago. His family was rich and well provided. His father’s democratic views influenced Ernest greatly and the young man early left his family’s home. His literature was his own interests in hunting, love, military services and so on. Hemingway avoided conventional narration in his stories. He tried to make the reader understand his ideas by sketching in vivid scenes his own experience.
He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for “The Old Man and the Sea” and the Nobel Prize in literature in 1954, as a creator of a unique style. Many of his works are now considered classics of American literature.
The book I’ve read is called “Cat in the Rain”, was written byErnest Hemingway in 1920. It is published in the first collection of his short prose (1925) and remains one of the stories most often reprinted, translated and admired by the readers.
The book examines the themes of the relationship between the wife and her husband. “Cat in the Rain” is about an American couple that spends their romantic holiday in an Italian hotel. It is a rainy day and the American woman sees a cat in the rain. When she goes out of the hotel, which is kept by an old Italian who really seems to do everything to please that woman, and wants to get the cat, it is gone.
After returning to the room, she starts a conversation with her husband George, who is reading, telling him how much she wants to have a cat and other things but her husband seems to be annoyed by that and not interested at all. Since she is not looked after by her husband, she takes comfort in the fact that the innkeeper takes a liking to her and a concern to her well-being. She has a momentary feeling of „supreme importance”. At the end of the story the author gratifies the girl’s wish and she gets the cat.
Firstly, I was impressed with the atmosphere – sad, cold and unfriendly. Looking at the relationships of the two Americans, we can see that this description was a foreshadowing of the couple’s relationships. The husband was just lying on the bed and reading and he had no desire to go out in such weather for the cat his wife wanted so much.
I must admit that I was impressed by the reaction of the woman when she saw at cat. We saw her childish behavior when she talks about the cat in this situation, she does not say “cat” but “kitty”, which is usually a childish expression. But the hotel-keeper gives her the feeling to be grown up, to be treated like a lady serving her. He gives the girl more attention than her own husband. Unconsciously comparing him with her indifferent husband she liked him because he displayed a kind of attention to her. He listened to her every word and request, and she knew that her every little whim would be fulfilled, and that can not be said about her husband who never worried about her feelings. She realized that her marital life was not successful and the cat for her is the only possibility to feel satisfaction. And now we understand why they are having problems with their marriage – because they are on different levels: he is already a man, she is still a girl. She doesn’t know how she can receive more attention from her husband – the wife wanted to grow out her hair, to look much prettier, making him more vulnerable to the fact that she could leave him. But George did not care about it. He even did not listen to her.
The suggested story represented the 3d person narration. It was interlaced in a dialogue.
I have found some stylistic devices in the text.
The author uses such stylistic devices as parallel constructions: „The rain dripped from the palm trees. The water stood in pool on the gravel paths. The sea broke in a long line in the rain and slipped back down the beach to come up and break again in the rain”. One can notice that nouns „rain”, „pools”, „sea” belong to one semantic sphere – water. This stylistic device is employed by the author to create the atmosphere of inevitability.
The author uses repetition: „I want”. The reader can see the girl’s emotional state „And I want to eat at a table with my own silver, and I want candles. And I want the kitty and I want some new clothes” (syntactical parallelism); „ ² want it so much”… „ I don’t know why I wanted it so much. I wanted that poor kitty.” (syntactical parallelism); „ I get so tired of it”… „ I get so tired of looking like a boy.” (syntactical parallelism).
In the text „Cat in the Rain” I’ve found the following lexical devices as metaphor, epithets, simile, synonyms and borrowings.
There are many borrowing from Italian, which are used in the text, e.g. “Il piove [Ital. It’s raining]”; “Si, si, Signora, brutto tempo. [Ital. It’s very bad weather]”; “Ha perduto qualque cosa, Signora? [Ital. Have you lost anything, Madam?] ”, „padrone…” [Ital. owner], „Avanti” [Ital. Come in] etc.
There is only one example of simile in the text, e.g. “I get so tired of looking like a boy” .
Also, I have found such epithets as: the bright colors, the poor kitty, dim room, the deadly serious way; old, heavy fact and big hands, bright green in the rain, maid’s face tightened, a big tortoise-shell cat; and such synonyms, e.g. cat – kitty, padrone – hotel owner – hotel keeper; wife – girl.
“Cat in the rain” was written by E. Hemingway with a great number of metaphors, which he uses to describe the relationships of an American couple. The description of the bad weather, of the “empty square” reflects this conflict. The wife likes a cat, who needs some attention; the husband likes rain and the hotel keeper likes a table, which protects the cat from the rain, e.g. “The pardon made her feel very small and at the same time really important.”
I find the plot rather interesting and it has a great value. It shows us the problems of couple’s relationships - when one partner becomes dominant or repressive and the other is trying to change and improve the situation. If they are aware of their problems they might be able to save their marriage. The author has succeeded in creating entirely believable characters. This is my way of looking at it.
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