AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall: 5 Narration: 5 Story: 4 I am admittedly not a huge fan of Fitzgeralds work, although I can and do appreciate his sharp wit that informs observations and commentary about behavior and motivations. I cannot help but think that his advice did contain some of the lesson that is visited on both cousins at the end, and presenting a story with such a clever conclusion, slightly devious and wholly appropriate for the character of Bernice was satisfying. The narration provided by Lee Ann Howlett presented the story and the characters in a cleanly presented form: small tonal distinctions delineated the characters from one another and the narrative in a well-modulated presentation. Finely nuanced inflections provide verbal clues to the attitudes and personalities of the characters, from hesitancy to offhanded bravado, each was a perfectly voiced addition to the written text. This is one of the stories that become the definition of a classic short: the setting is nearly a century prior, but the characters and people are real and easy to relate to with a modern eye.
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Unfortunately for Marjorie Harvey, her dull cousin Bernice is visiting for a month. Even though Marjorie is one of the most popular girls in town, nobody wants to hang out with poor Bernice, whose conversation is mostly limited to painfully awkward inquiries about the weather. The next morning, the truth comes out — Bernice tells Marjorie that she heard everything that her cousin said the previous night, and a terrible fight ensues.
The lessons begin immediately, and by the next week, Bernice is ready for action. She immediately makes a splash by announcing that she intends to bob her hair. Embarrassed and caught up in the moment, Bernice agrees to get her hair cut that very day, in front of all of her new friends. Bernice leaves town triumphantly. Finally, we see the real scene unfold before us — the dance floor, full of young, gorgeous, generally fabulous people.
The song stops and the dancers disperse. One of the "stags" partner-less guys is Warren McIntyre, a popular Yale undergrad. As he strolls around the ballroom, we learn a bit about the other members of this social circle. Poor Warren. Cousin Bernice is nothing compared to her spitfire cousin. However, he has to dance with her at every party, since Marjorie herself asks him to. This weekend is no different — Marjorie comes up and asks Warren to rescue Bernice from Otis Ormonde, since the two have been dancing together for an hour.
It turns out that Otis is the one that needs rescuing. Warren relieves Otis of his dancing duties, and takes on the burden of boring Bernice.
Our narrator helpfully fills us in on some of the rules that dominate this social universe. Bernice is her usual dull self, and has nothing to talk about but the weather. Warren, bored, tries idly to flirt with her…but it fails spectacularly. Part 2 After the dance, Marjorie and Bernice go home together. Sadly, Bernice had been hoping that they would be best friends.
She is sorely disappointed in her cousin as a result. As Bernice brushes her teeth and gets ready for bed, she wonders about the problem of her lack of popularity away from home. She does see that other girls who are less socially significant and pretty than she is sometimes have more luck with the guys, even back in Eau Claire; this, she attributes to their innate cheapness. Outside the door, though, she discovers that her cousin is already in there.
The topic of conversation is Bernice herself. On this note, Marjorie and her mother say goodnight. When Marjorie emerges, Bernice is nowhere to be seen.
Part 3 The next day, Bernice spills her angst out to Marjorie, admitting that she overheard the conversation the previous night. Bernice tries rather ineptly to guilt-trip the guilt-free Marjorie by saying that she should probably just go back home to Eau Claire.
Sobbing, Bernice flees. An hour later, she returns, hoping that Marjorie will coax her into staying. Nothing of the sort happens. The two cousins face off, and Marjorie unleashes a dizzying display of criticism. Bernice is overwhelmed by these new ideas. She disappears for a few hours, claiming a headache. Marjorie goes out for the afternoon, and when she returns, a determined Bernice is waiting for her.
Bernice has decided that Marjorie might be right. The makeover begins immediately. Marjorie also lets Bernice in on a big secret — in order to be popular, women have to be kind and considerate even to the lowliest of men. Marjorie urges Bernice to use the less popular guys she meets as "practice" for the big fish. A whole new world has opened up for Bernice over the past few minutes.
This last bit is too much for poor Bernice. Part 4 After some intense training, Bernice is ready for her first public appearance — a dinner and dance at the country club. Bernice finds herself seated between two bachelors, one eligible, and one not. Reece Stoddard is a young lawyer and man about town, but Charley Paulson, her other neighbor, is kind of a nobody.
Bernice breaks the ice with a crash and asks Charley if he thinks she should bob her hair. A conversation ensues about bobbed hair and its questionable morality. By the end of the evening, Bernice is the new toast of town, and even the picky G.
Reece Stoddard is a fan. He remembers that he thought she was pretty before he found out how dull she is. At home that night, Bernice and Marjorie evaluate the night — it was clearly a success. Bernice is a little worried because she had to repeat some of her snappy lines with different men, but Marjorie tells her not to worry.
They plan to make up more material later. Her last waking thought is about how great Marjorie is, and how nice that boy Warren seems. Bernice has made a few mistakes in her adventures in society such as accidentally telling a daring joke to Draycott Deyo, a rather priggish, very religious young man , but overall, things are going swimmingly for her.
Reece Stoddard. However, just before Bernice is bound to return home to Eau Claire, she has a terribly, terribly awkward moment with Marjorie. At the party, Bernice is flustered. Confronted by her new friends, Marjorie, and Warren, Bernice falters for a moment. At the barbershop, a crowd gathers to see the big event. The other patrons of the barbershop are shocked, as is the barber himself. For a moment, Bernice feels her resolve waver as she feels her beautiful hair for the last time.
She calmly gathers her courage and waits for the chop. The results are disastrous. Her friends — now ex-friends — are all quietly dismayed, and Warren is suddenly uninterested. In a cruel gesture of victory, Marjorie asks Warren to run some errands with her, and leaves with him. Part 6 At home that night, Bernice is forced to confront her flabbergasted aunt. At dinner, everyone is uncomfortable. Bernice tried to fix her hair with a curling iron, but failed miserably.
The evening passes, and Marjorie goes off with a boy as Bernice attempts halfheartedly to entertain some callers. With a final effort, Bernice says she likes the haircut.
Marjorie, dismissive, tells her not to worry about the whole thing. The cousins say goodnight and part ways. When Marjorie leaves, something changes in Bernice. She immediately leaps up and packs all of her things and gets dressed to leave. She steadies herself, and the same look of determination that she had in the barbershop appears on her face.
She feels strangely exhilarated, and as she walks down the street to get a taxi, she has the unusual urge to burst out laughing. Satisfied, she picks her baggage up and runs off.
Bernice Bobs Her Hair
Scott Fitzgerald was a famously fast-living kind of guy, and his works of fiction document the lives of young, hip people like him. The collection that features "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" is actually titled Flappers and Philosophers , a label that immediately announces its subject matter. Fitzgerald strove to faithfully and entertainingly depict the changing face of youth in his time; the women are envisioned as forward-thinking, revolutionary "flappers" slang for the kind of new, fast-talking, Charleston-dancing, jazz-listening, leg-baring gal that emerged at this time , while the men, who either narrowly missed or survived the horrors of World War I , are labeled "philosophers. She learns the ABCs of popularity, and quickly becomes popular herself. Soon enough, the student eclipses the master; the queen bee is disturbed and seeks vengeance which then backfires on her. The upstart triumphs in the end, and the social order is ultimately shaken up. End of story.
Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Unfortunately for Marjorie Harvey, her dull cousin Bernice is visiting for a month. Even though Marjorie is one of the most popular girls in town, nobody wants to hang out with poor Bernice, whose conversation is mostly limited to painfully awkward inquiries about the weather. The next morning, the truth comes out — Bernice tells Marjorie that she heard everything that her cousin said the previous night, and a terrible fight ensues. The lessons begin immediately, and by the next week, Bernice is ready for action. She immediately makes a splash by announcing that she intends to bob her hair.
âBernice Bobs Her Hairâ
Scott Fitzgerald we have the theme of identity, acceptance, popularity, betrayal, jealousy and rejection. Taken from his The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Fitzgerald may be exploring the theme of popularity. Fitzgerald also appears to be exploring the theme of rejection.