The characters in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes fall into three major types. The central character, Lorelei Lee, advances the stereotype of the “dumb blonde.” She is too foolish even to recognize her own ignorance. She believes that she is “refined” and “becoming educated” when, in fact, she is only demonstrating how empty-headed she really is. Ironically, however, Lorelei’s view of the world works in its own terms. Though most of the people she meets try to take advantage of her, Lorelei ends up using them for her own purposes. The reader thus begins the novel laughing at Lorelei for her shallowness, pretensions, and lack of education. By the end of the novel, however, the reader’s view of Lorelei becomes more sympathetic, and one begins to laugh with her rather than at her. Loos achieves this by showing that most of the people Lorelei meets have even more pretensions than she does.
Dorothy, Lorelei’s companion and “chaperone,” is the novel’s second major type of character. Far more down-to-earth than Lorelei, Dorothy says precisely what is on her mind regardless of the impact it will have. Though Lorelei dismisses Dorothy as “unrefined,” Dorothy’s remarks are usually an accurate assessment of each situation, and she often reflects the reader’s own point of view. Though hard-edged and cynical, Dorothy is actually more romantic than the materialistic Lorelei. She is seeking true love, whereas Lorelei may confuse romance...
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