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Dorothy Parker, The Waltz - Research Paper Example

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Name Dorothy Parker’s “The Waltz” The treatment of women in the past was extremely appalling and ruthless. As societies started developing, men were seen dominating women through severe physical pressures and activities…
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Dorothy Parker, The Waltz

Download file to see previous pages... She reveals the reality of the treatment of women by men and shows how they were trapped in a male-dominated society during the twentieth century. It is an autobiographical account of her experience which involved sexism and how she conforms to the expectations of the society. The opening lines express the relationship between man and woman which is that of hatred yet there is a sense of dependence both inherent and induced through social pressure. In response to a simple question “would you like to dance?” a woman is often heard to reply in the affirmative. However the opening lines tell the reader that the female character is unwilling to do so. In fact her sentiments are so strong that it appears that she is completely frustrated with the cliched gestures that women show towards men as a weaker sex: “I don’t want to dance with him. I don’t want to dance with anybody. And even if I did, it wouldn’t be with him. He'd be well among the last ten. I've seen the way he dances. Just think, not a quarter of an hour ago, here I was sitting, feeling so sorry the poor girl he was dancing with. and now I'm going to be that poor girl.” (Parker 1942) As one reads on through the story he realizes that it is rather a satirical parody of women’s attitude towards men. ...
The monologue, through which the entire story is narrated, is a true expression of the speaker which is not only outright but also comforting. The language used is very concrete and feminine. It not only parodies the feminine language but also the masculine aspect of it making it all the more interesting. The rhetorical question that the story poses is about the possible response a female can give to a man who is offering her to dance with him (Pettit 241). For Parker, being smart and cute were the only two available attitudes for her as a woman in the early twentieth century. This shows that the story has a quasi-autobiographical discourse. The way she incorporates the textual environment of the early 1930s is a remarkable achievement of the author who accepted and resisted using the language of popular literature in all her works. The complex parodic paradigm of the use of language in the short fiction is an aspect which drives more attention to the story than just its appearance in a particular magazine in a particular time period (Bennett112). The question “would you like to dance?” is a unique speech act which lies somewhere between a command and a genuine question. The face value of this question is a freedom of choice for the women but it is the situation where she is asked that she is compelled to reply in affirmative even if she does not want to. She does have the freedom to decline but she is also elated by the fact that someone at least asked her. The story suggests that women find an agency through humor and the speech-act that it allows is a limited agency. Parker combines and represents the words of the women which allows for them to share the humor which leads to a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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