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Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Bernice Bobs Her Hair


by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Bernice Timeline and Summary

  • Bernice, who's clearly unpopular, is stuck dancing with little Otis Ormonde at a summer dance.
  • Warren McIntyre relieves Otis of his dancing duties and attempts to flirt with Bernice. She unintentionally shuts him down, then accidentally offends him by trash talking his friends.
  • At home, Bernice wonders a little sadly why she's not more popular.
  • Bernice goes to talk to her aunt, but accidentally overhears Marjorie criticizing her.
  • The next day, Bernice confronts Marjorie. The two argue, and Bernice resolves tearfully to go home.
  • Later on, Bernice attempts to talk to Marjorie again; her cousin is unsympathetic, and basically tells Bernice that all her ideas about what it means to be a woman are outdated and wrong.
  • That afternoon, Bernice returns once more to talk to Marjorie. She wants to learn what Marjorie's got to teach – how to be popular. She promises to do everything her cousin tells her to do, but the prospect of bobbing her hair overwhelms her.
  • The next Wednesday, the new Bernice makes her debut. She's a stunning success, and wins over all the bachelors in town, simply by following Marjorie's instructions. Her most popular line is her claim that she's going to bob her hair.
  • At the end of the evening, Bernice can't believe how much fun she had. She's proud of herself.
  • Life as a popular girl is pretty fantastic, despite some minor kinks that arise along the way. However, a major kink soon arises – Bernice accidentally steals the affections of Marjorie's most faithful suitor, Warren.
  • When Marjorie coldly confronts her cousin about Warren, Bernice is horrified. She never intended to hurt Marjorie, and wonders how she can make it up.
  • It's too late for amends, though, and, while the cousins are at a bridge party that afternoon, Marjorie sabotages her cousin by telling everyone that Bernice doesn't ever intend to bob her hair.
  • Bernice, faced with a tough decision, sticks to her guns and stands up to her cousin. She claims unsteadily that she does indeed plan to bob her hair – and everyone at the party insists that she do it right away.
  • The whole crowd heads down to the barber shop, where Bernice asks for the haircut. She wavers in her resolve, but, looking at Marjorie and Warren, goes through with it.
  • The haircut is a disaster, and Bernice knows she's lost everything.
  • At home, Marjorie half-heartedly and smugly apologizes to Bernice for egging her on. Bernice claims to forgive her cousin.
  • That night, Bernice packs up her bags and gets ready to depart on the sly.
  • Bernice takes a pair of shears and cuts off Marjorie's beautiful blond braids of hair while her cousin sleeps.
  • On her way out of town, Bernice gleefully hurls the braids at Warren's house, then runs off.