Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Dorothy Parker’s style is direct, lively, and fast-paced. The third-person narration holds the characters at a distance: Mrs. Morse is an admonitory example, and while readers of the story may pity her, they are not invited to identify with her.

Dialogue is natural, quick, and immediate, though used sparingly. Much of the story is given to exposition, in the historical past, again enforcing a certain detachment. Parker offers few if any closeups of love scenes or hate scenes, or highly dramatic moments. Although the circumstances of the protagonist change, she does not undergo significant development; that is not the author’s intention. Rather, Parker anatomizes a character type.

Big Blonde Historical Context

Women’s Rights
In 1920 the 19th Amendment to the Constitution passed, giving women the right to vote for the first time. This...

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Big Blonde Literary Style

‘‘Big Blonde’’ is set in New York City during the 1920s. The story reflects certain conflicts in this moment in...

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Big Blonde Compare and Contrast

1920s: Forty-seven percent of American college students are female, signaling gender parity in higher education for the first time....

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Big Blonde Topics for Further Study

None of the characters in the story seems to understand why Mrs. Morse is so sad. Contemporary psychology and medicine might explain her...

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Big Blonde Media Adaptations

In 1995 ‘‘Big Blonde’’ was performed by Elaine Stritch on a Penguin audiocassette entitled Dorothy Parker: Selected Stories.

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Big Blonde What Do I Read Next?

The Complete Stories (1995) edited by Breese, Breese, and Berecca, compiles all of Dorothy Parker’s narrative writings, including...

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Big Blonde Bibliography and Further Reading

Douglas, George H. Women of the Twenties. Dallas, TX: Saybrook, 1986.

Maugham, W. Somerset....

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Big Blonde Bibliography

(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

Suggested Readings

Calhoun, Randall. Dorothy Parker: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.

Gill, Brendan. Introduction to The Portable Dorothy Parker, by Dorothy Parker. New York: Viking Press, 1973.

Kinney, Arthur. Dorothy Parker. Boston: Twayne, 1978.

Meade, Marion. Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? New York: Villard Books, 1988.

(The entire section is 46 words.)