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.