Sunday, November 30, 2008

Analysis of "A Certain Lady"

The speaker in this poem is a lady who reflects on how she interacts with a man she loves. She puts on a gay pretense to make the man feel that she loves and eats up every word he says. She acts physically flirtatious (lines 4, 22), uses her body language to please and entice him with looks and smiles (1-3, 6, 13), and she laughs and "marvels rapturous eyed"as he "rehearses his lists of love" and tells "tales of fresh adventurings". The problem is, the whole time he's telling her about his exploits and his experiences with women, which is causing her great pain (8, 11, 23), but she knows her part so well (meaning she's acting, playing a role) that he believes that she is delighted by his stories and continues, oblivious to her pain.

A witty cynicism towards romance emanates from the hardened, world weary speaker that is characteristic to a lot of Dorothy Parker's works. The speaker herself is clever, well practiced in her ruse, and quite wry and sarcastic in the way she deals with the man. She has knowledge that reveals the weaknesses of the man, and she decieves and has some control over him through her behavior, but she can't make him do what she really wants, which is to stop adventuring with young ladies, understand her pain and feelings, and love her.

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