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Fitzgerald's stories chronicled a new generation of American youth whose excesses astounded their elders, and his delightful, bold, and infuriating characters provided a template for the modern socialite. Any talk of the "Jazz Age" also known as the " Roaring Twenties " of the s immediately brings to mind images straight out of Fitzgerald's world — devastatingly charming flappers and their debonair dates.
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.
The young characters we encounter here are on a different schedule than their parents; instead of planning for the future, they're all about living in the moment. Marjorie proudly claims to be a "gardenia girl" 31 , a blossom that's incredibly beautiful, but whose beauty fades fast. Rather than plodding along steadily and never really enjoying herself, Marjorie's motto is something akin to "live fast, die young. The conflict between the two cousins demonstrates the tumultuous social conditions of Fitzgerald's time, with a freshness and accessibility that still impresses readers even ninety years down the road.
If you're a fan of Fitzgerald's novels, be sure to check out more of his short stories — he may have written them to pay the bills, but that doesn't stop them from being among some of his most delightful work. Here's the plot, in a nutshell: a new girl arrives in town, and is taken under the rather uncomfortable wing of the queen bee.
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. Sound familiar? Well, since this is a guide on "Bernice Bobs Her Hair," we certainly hope it does. However, even if you haven't read the story yet, it might ring some mental bells if you've seen Mean Girls. Yep, that's right — if you think about it, the two plotlines are really pretty close.
Now, we're not accusing screenwriter Tina Fey of ripping off what's essentially one of the oldest stories in the book of adolescent life; we heart Tina Fey. Instead, we'd like to focus on the reason for these uncanny similarities — the simple fact that girl culture has operated in a certain way for a long time, and will, in all likelihood, continue to do so for ages to come. Both Fitzgerald and Fey touch upon some of the central themes of youth — think jealousy and competition — and use them to remind us of how savage we're all capable of being, despite our big talk about being civilized, modern citizens of an advanced world.
Sure, we may have invented some pretty complicated social structures for ourselves in Fitzgerald's story, the social hierarchy of a small town; in Mean Girls , the convoluted maze of relationships that is adolescence , but fundamental human nature never changes: we're capable of being competitive, vicious beasts on the inside.
Both "Bernice" and Mean Girls point to the particular viciousness of female competition. The concept of femininity is central to both works; they ask us to question our expectations of girls and girlhood, and to reevaluate what makes women the way they are.
The conclusion spoken in Mean Girls , unspoken in "Bernice" is that no strict definition of femininity can do any good — any concept of an ideal woman causes nothing but competition, jealousy, and flat-out trouble, regardless of how you define it.
However, we can take some consolation in the moral of Mean Girls — hopefully, all of the diverse definitions of womanhood will someday be equally accepted, and will be able to coexist peacefully. For you Fitzgerald fans out there… The University of South Carolina maintains a fabulous Fitzgerald site, with scholarly articles, biographical info, and more.
It's definitely worth a click! Bernice Bobs Her Hair… the blog? OK, it's not what it sounds like — instead, it's a collection of vintage advertisements and images.
Still, pretty cool. Bernice Bobs Her Mullet A review of the short-lived musical update of the story. Scott Speaks! OK, this isn't directly related, but it is cool. Click here for recordings of Fitzgerald reading. The most famous bob of all… Louise Brooks, an American silent film actress, was famous for her dramatic bob cut.
Study Guide. Scott Fitzgerald. Audios Scott Speaks!
âBernice Bobs Her Hairâ
SparkNotes is here for you with everything you need to ace or teach! Find out more. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in the general interest magazine Saturday Evening Post, it later appeared in Fitzgerald's first short story collection, Flappers and Philosophers
Bernice Bobs Her Hair
A great story of vengeance! The intolerable patronising attitude, pretensious nature as a do-gooder of Marjorie is exposed beautifully. The reader cannot but help sympathise with Bernice who is outwitted and who in turn,outwits Marjorie. What is there to say about the craftmanship of Scot Fitgerald? It is masterly and the author's sarcasm about the craftiness, shallowness of human beings ' on the hunt for mates' can be felt between the lines. I don't think that Fitzgerald ever quite believed how incredibly gifted he was. He gave us so many gifts, This story is just one of the many writings that can be read and read again.
Scott Fitzgerald , written in and first published in the Saturday Evening Post in May of that year. The story was based on letters which a nineteen-year-old Fitzgerald sent to his fourteen-year-old  sister Annabel. Bernice, a purportedly mixed-race [a] girl from rural Eau Claire, Wisconsin , visits her beautiful and sophisticated cousin Marjorie Harvey for the month of August. At the Saturday-night dances , none of the handsome boys wish to dance with or speak to Bernice, and Marjorie feels that Bernice is a drag on her social life. One evening, Bernice overhears a hurtful conversation between Marjorie and Marjorie's mother in which Marjorie comments that Bernice is socially hopeless. Indian women all just sat round and never said anything.
At a summer dance being hosted at a country club, teenagers from well-to-do families flirt, dance, and socialize in rituals incomprehensible to the older guests. Standing out from this crowd is Bernice , an awkward year-old girl whose unworldly ways and old-fashioned values clash with the modern manners of her peers. She is staying with her cousin Marjorie for yet another summer—and though the vivacious Marjorie has subtly tried to set Bernice on the path to social success, Bernice continues to falter at every step. Despite her beauty, she is hopelessly unpopular, boring every one of her dance partners. Late that night, after the dance has ended, Bernice overhears Marjorie and her mother, Mrs. Harvey , discussing her in private.