Dorothy Parker

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What insight into the human experience is given through Dorothy Parker's "Solace"?


There was a rose that faded young;
I saw its shattered beauty hung
Upon a broken stem.
I heard them say, "What need to care
With roses budding everywhere?"
I did not answer them.

There was a bird brought down to die;
They said, "A hundred fill the sky--
What reason to be sad?"
There was a girl whose love fled;
I did not wait the while they said,
"There's many another lad."

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One of the primary insights that Parker gives in the poem is how cold and detached social orders can be in the name of "progress."  There is little reflection or rumination that is featured within the social order in Parker's depiction.  Death happens and the isolation of the individual transpires with little in way of thought or calculation.  For this, the construction of society is one whereby the individual uniqueness of the individual will be sacrificed in the name of social progress or rationalization.  The beauty of the rose and the flight of the bird are examples of how society pays little attention to those who perish or die and keeps moving on, supposedly in a forward direction.  For Parker, the primary insight into one one lives and what is the human experience is that individuals must recognize that some level of push back against society is needed.  Individuals must seek to validate their own experience perhaps outside of social acceptance and social norms.  It is through this element where Parker is able to make the claim that the human experience is one in which individuals must understand that their own uniqueness and distinctive nature must be fought against the clutches of a society that might be more interested in normalizing it as opposed to praising it.

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