What thoughts come to mind when reading "Symptom Recital" by Dorothy Parker?

1 Answer | Add Yours

thanatassa's profile pic

thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The first thing that I notice when reading the poem is that it is written in iambic tetrameter couplets using very simple language. The tone is one of light society verse, using what was fashionable slang in the author's period. It almost reads as one half of a conversation between fashionable ladies complaining to each other about finding their lives hollow.

The list of symptoms or complaints is intended to reflect the narrator's overall mood, which seems to be restless and self-pitying, rather than genuinely sorrowful. The narrator's reaction to her state of mind is to behave somewhat rudely or impatiently to other people, something of which she is ironically self aware. 

The final couplet is meant to add a surprising twist to the poem, first abjuring men as the cause of the narrator's discomfort and then suggesting that she will (quasi-deliberately) go about falling in love as a cure for boredom.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,957 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question