- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
I read F. Scott's Fitzgerald's short story "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" in high school. I loved it! After reading it again twenty plus years later - the angst, Marjorie, and Bernice - I still love this short story set in the Roaring Twenties.
Fitzgerald was inspired by letters to his younger sister on how to be more attractive to men. We see the sexism of the time - the cattiness and manipulations of teens, the peer pressure - which are told through third person omniscient narrative.
The characters live in upper crust society and they can be perceived as shallow people, but Bernice is the underdog in the story. She doesn't understand why she doesn't fit in with Marjories friends, and the need to see her rise above Marjorie's scathing review of her sucks us into the story.
I'm not too keen with Fitzgerald's characterization of Marjorie. She sounds like a man in a woman's body, instead of a behaving like a forward-thinking female. It makes me wonder how much Fitzgerald is represented in Majorie. Despite my little issue, this short story, which was first posted in The Saturday Evening Post in 1920, is a classic.
Recommended Quick Read!
"Oh, my Lord!" cried Marjorie in desperation. "You little nut! Girls like you are responsible for all the tiresome colorless marraiges; all those ghastly ineffiencies that pass as feminine qualities. what a blow it must be when a man with imagination marries the beautiful bundle of clothes that he's been building ideals round, and finds that she's just a weak, whining, cowardly mass of affectations!"
People over forty can seldom be permanently convinced of anything. At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look; at forty-five they are caves in which we hide.