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One Perfect Rose

One Perfect Rose

by Dorothy Parker

Perfection

Symbol Analysis

Nothing is perfect. Well, actually that's not really true. Sometimes roses can be perfect, at least according to the speaker of "One Perfect Rose." But even if the rose is perfect—great petal shape, perfect color, etc.—it's not really a perfect way to express love. No, it's kind of a cliché. Even something perfect can still be imperfect. (Nice try, though, Mr. Rose-Sender Guy.)

  • Line 2: The man's tenderness makes him seem like the perfect guy. Little does he know, however, that his gesture will soon turn out to be not so perfect. Disappointment is coming…
  • Lines 3-4: The rose is perfect. It's deep-hearted, pure, and still wet with scented dew. Deep-hearted is a bizarre phrase. The flower is probably deep-hearted because it conveys a lot of emotion. In that case, deep-hearted is a metaphor for the flower's, er, emotional character. The flower is also a symbol of love, affection, and the like. Finally, the phrase "One perfect rose" is a refrain.
  • Line 6: So, it turns out that the flower's leaves are fragile. This is our first hint that both the flower and the guy aren't so perfect after all. Perfection may about more than just sending flowers and being nice, as it turns out.
  • Lines 7-8: Love loves to use perfect roses as its amulet. Love cannot really "take" anything, so this is an example of personification. The word amulet is also interesting, and is a metaphor for the fact that people often uses flowers as a way to defend and support their love. The phrase "One perfect rose" is another refrain. A perfect rose may be perfect-looking, but as an amulet or expression of love it's far from perfect.
  • Lines 10: A perfect limousine is better than a perfect rose? That's what the speaker implies. The limousine symbolizes mobility and technological advancement. Maybe the perfect expression of love has to be something that is, well, more modern or updated than just a flower.
  • Lines 11-12: The speaker's frustration is expressed in the sarcastic phrase "it's always just my luck." The refrain ("One perfect rose") also appears for the third and final time. The rose isn't perfect, and neither is the guy. Is the speaker asking too much? Maybe she's frustrated because she's looking for perfection and it just doesn't exist.

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