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    Comparing Parker's and Bambara's Style

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    Read Dorothy Parker's "The Standard of Living" (pages 337- 341) and Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson" (pages 342-347). Clearly, these stories were written not only by different authors but with different styles.

    Compare and contrast Parker's and Bambara's use of style. How do they differ and why?

    To address the above question, you may also consider and incorporate the following questions:

    How well do you come to know the young women in Parker's story? What is their style? How do they dress, act, and talk?

    Parker was known for her sharp tongue and malicious wit. Do these show in the style of this story? Why or why not?

    In Bambara's work, we see the children from uptown through the eyes of one of their own. How does this point of view shape the story as a whole?

    How does the tough street language that the narrator and her friends speak differ from the genteel middle-class language used by other authors? What distinctive features do you recognize? Do you find the language offensive? Why or why not?

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    Solution Preview

    Please see response attached, which is also presented below. I also attached a highly informative article and a MLA resource. I hope this helps and take care.

    Response:

    Interesting assignment. Let's take a closer look through a tentative outline and information to consider for each section.

    The place to start is to read Dorothy Parker's "The Standard of Living" (pages 337- 341) and Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson" (pages 342-347) several times to get a feel for the writing style of the two authors, while thinking about potential points of similarities and differences, while you are reading. It is important to 'critically' read the two literary works by jotting down points as you read that might be helpful to address the main question about style, and the other questions listed below.

    Your tentative outline might look something to the effect...

    I. Introduction (one or two sentences introducing the topic, including a purpose statement: The purpose of this essay is to...)

    II.Dorothy Parker's "The Standard of Living" (about ½- ¾ page)
    a.Question (a)
    b.Question (b)

    III.Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson" (about ½- ¾ page)
    a.Question (c)
    b.Question (d)

    IV.Conclusion (sum up main points; 2 or 3 sentences).

    A. Read Dorothy Parker's "The Standard of Living" (pages 337- 341) and Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson" (pages 342-347). Clearly, these stories were written not only by different authors but with different styles. Write an essay that addresses issues of literary style.

    1. Compare and contrast Parker and Bambara's use of style. How do they differ and why?

    Your Introduction might look something to the effect...

    Clearly, Dorothy Parker's "The Standard of Living" and Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson" are written not only by different authors but also with different styles. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast Parker and Bambara's use of style. Specifically, it addresses... .

    2. To address the above question, you may also consider and incorporate the following questions:

    Note: The following questions can act as a tentative outline for your paper, as mentioned in the tentative outline above. A good place to find information for the following question is to search the internet to see what experts in literary works have to say about the style of Parker and Bambara. Let's search www.google.com first. Using the author's name and the title, I located several reviews, which I attached below this response, from which the following response will make reference to.

    II. Dorothy Parker's "The Standard of Living"

    Interesting, Parker's literary style is viewed differently by the male and female analysts. However, most would agree that her dramatic narrative pose is filled with satire. In an interview, Parker says this about her writing style:

    "I don't want to be classed as a humorist. It makes me feel guilty. I've never read a good tough quotable female humorist, and I never was one myself. I couldn't do it. A "smartcracker" they called me, and that makes me sick and unhappy. There's a hell of a distance between wisecracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words. I didn't mind so much when they were good, but for a long time anything that was called a crack was attributed to me -- and then they got the shaggy dogs. . . . .[But] ah, satire. That's another matter. They're the big boys. If I'd been called a satirist there'd be no living with me. But by satirist I mean those boys in the other centuries. The people we call satirists now are those who make cracks at topical topics and consider themselves satirists -- creatures like George S. Kaufman and such who don't even know what satire is. Lord knows, a writer should know his times, but not show them in wisecracks. Their stuff is not satire; it's as dull as yesterday's newspaper. Successful satire has got to be pretty good the day after tomorrow." From Dorothy Parker, interview with Marion Capron, in Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews. Ed. Malcolm Cowley. New York: Viking, 1958, 69-82. http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/m_r/parker/wit.htm

    To support this satirical form of literary style of Parker, Kinney (n.d.) also argues this:

    "As with her poetry, she uses dramatic narration to economize space and maximize effect; she does not identify herself with the narration, however, because she means to tell her stories ironically: her own perception is thus deeper and clearer than the narrator's. Her stories are occasionally dramatic in their unfolding . . . but, more often, they are static -- the change occurs not in character or circumstance but in the reader's awareness of what the author is really signifying. Whether she is writing soliloquy, monologue (this implies a second voice), or narration, she interrupts her narrative with hyperbolic action or remark, repetition, ...

    Solution Summary

    Using the questions as a guide, this solution provides assistance in comparing Parker's and Bambara's use of style explaining how they differ and why. Supplemented with an article discussing these styles.

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