LITERATURE: Dorothy Parker

Honestly, I’ll get beyond the first story in this anthology, but this one technique has stuck in my head so I need to dump it into yours, especially since it is in keeping with my prior entry regarding omniscience of the narrator in describing feelings. 

These three mentions of a fuchsia plant the wife buys to pretty up the apartment in readiness of her husband’s leave:

"On the way back she passed a florist’s shop in the window of which were displayed potted fuchsia.  She made no attempt to resist them.  They were too charming, with their delicate parchment-colored inverted cups and their graceful magenta bells.  She bought six pots of them."

And after he has arrived, but gone in to take a bath:

"She went into the living room.  She stood, breathing heavily, her finger nails scarring her palms, as she looked at the fuchsia blossoms, with their dirty parchment-colored cups, their vulgar magenta bells."


"When he had gone, she stood a moment by the fuchsia plants, touching delicately, tenderly, the enchanting parchment-colored caps, the exquisite magenta bells."

Parker shows us the changes in mood of the protagonist by the reappearance of the fuchsia plants, and the narrator’s description of them–but only as the protagonist herself would describe them at that moment.  There is no guesswork, no interference by the narrator, no input, just the thoughts straight out of the character’s mind.

One thing I just noticed in the typing of this, the word "cups" becomes "caps" in the last description.  It would be interesting to find if this is merely a typographical error in printing, or if indeed, Parker puts the "cap" on the story rather than leaving it open as it’s brewing in a "cup."  This would reveal even more thought put into the process of writing, yet so subtle.

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