Teenagers, Bobs, and Liberation

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While reading this story, I could not help thinking of ways that teenage girls often treat each other in the real world.  I myself had great friends throughout middle and high school, but I knew of many so called friends that told rumors about each other.  However, I have never actually known someone who has resorted to such tactics as Bernice and Marjorie did in this story.  The following quote relates that climax that displays the animosity that Bernice rightfully felt for her cousin: "Bending over she found one of the braids of Marjorie's hair, followed it up with her hand to the point nearest the head, and then holding it a little slack so that the sleeper would feel no pull, she reached down with the shears and severed it" (Fitzgerald section 5, paragraph 30).  I was very surprised that Bernice never shows an ounce of regret for her actions in the story, especially since the last glimpse the reader gets of her is a liberated Bernice throwing her cousin's severed braids onto her love interest's front porch (Fitzgerald section 5, paragraph 31).  It is almost as if her bob has empowered her to act out against her cousin's rudeness, the weight that was weighing her down is now cut away.  After reading story, I realized the double meaning in the title, "Bernice Bobs Her Hair."  Yes, Bernice chose to, or was practically forced (depending on the way one looks at the situation) to have her hair bobbed, but she also bobbed her cousin's hair.  The fact that Bernice was no longer admired by the other socialites after she bobbed her hair shows just how cruel and fickle the teenage set can be.  Although I wish the story would have continued to include Marjorie’s and her friends' reactions to her own haircut, I'm sure one could imagine that the responses would be very similar to those when Bernice was first seen with her own cropped style.  Perhaps Marjorie’s bob would have left her feeling liberated from something, such as the necessity of conforming to society, as well. 

 

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6 Comments

Angela Palumbo said:

You observation about the title's double meaning was very astute. I see that until I read your comment. Thanks for pointing that out!

Angela Palumbo said:

You observation about the title's double meaning was very astute. I see that until I read your comment. Thanks for pointing that out!

Angelica Guzzo said:

I like your observation and I agree that girls can be cruel to each other.

Hmmm, very Mean Girls like if you ask me. Basically that whole part in the movie when Cady and Janice are trying to make Regina fall from her queen bee throne.

Tiffany Gilbert said:

Ohhh you have awesome responses to the reading! I like how you pinpointed the climax of the story. It shows you're really doing close readings!
Good job!

Erica, as Tiffany says, you clearly have experience with doing close readings. Good job.

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