Bernobs Her Hair Analysis

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The Foibles of Bernice and Her Desolate Generation From a dull bromide to a free-spirited flapper, Bernice undergoes several character changes throughout F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Bernice Bobs Her Hair.” In the perspective of the Lost Generation, Fitzgerald depicts this forlorn, oblivious girl who seeks validation and social acceptance via feeble and repetitive tactics. Weary of incompetence, she appeals to her cousin Marjorie, a veritable expert in the business of conformity, for advice on public image. Several key devices used to express Bernice’s character development, from dramatic irony to figurative language to hyperbole, show that humans who define themselves on the basis of societal paradigms are susceptive to arbitrary and often shallow…show more content…
Bernice tends to exaggerate situations beyond their rational limit, extolling petty successes and dreading minor misfortunes to an extent most readers would find excessive. For example, she deems the week following her dinner dance at the country club a “revelation” consisting of the “foundation of self-confidence” which stems from the approval of her peers (Fitzgerald 7). The author intentionally touts social status as the ultimatum of character stability: either abide by the standards society promulgates in order to earn artificial success, or reject these standards and lose the sense of belonging that drives most human behavior. The same concept appears in the group discussion preceding the climax, where Bernice is persuaded by Marjorie et al to bob her hair. Owing to peer pressure and overt psychological trickery, Bernice now views the haircut as “the test supreme of her sportsmanship” (Fitzgerald 9). While it is clear to the reader that this assertion is overblown, Bernice perceives it as a necessary reality—the only motivation to launch her fully into “the starry heaven of popular girls” (Fitzgerald 9). In this way, Fitzgerald illustrates the deceptive power a party of like-minded people can have over the decisions of an…show more content…
By fabricating conflicts and achievements that are magnified out of proportion by the main character of his satire, Fitzgerald exposes a weakness that human reasoning can adopt in the face of pressure. The author sprinkles various instances of hyperbole and figurative language in his work that give color to Bernice’s absurd impressions of reality. He also unmasks the deprivation which underlies trivial changes Bernice makes to her character, showing how the impact of a self-indulgent society can render someone attentive to surface issues while oblivious to fundamental ones. In merely eleven pages, F. Scott Fitzgerald outlines one of the most egregious and humiliating deficiencies in human
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