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Resume

Resume

by Dorothy Parker

Death (Suicide) Theme

When every single line in a poem weighs the potential downsides of killing oneself in a particular way, chances are that the poem is doing a little bit of reflecting on the up-sides and the down-sides of staying alive as well.  We're guessing that this debate is going on in the first place because the speaker of "Resume" isn't too happy – she even shows signs of clinical depression. In the end, she opts for living, but not for the reasons you might assume. She simply seems to conclude that living is a little bit less of a hassle than going to all the trouble of killing herself. We know, it's a pretty bleak assessment of life.

Questions About Death (Suicide)

  1. Do you think the speaker actually wants to die?
  2. How does addressing this poem to a "you" influence the way that you read it?
  3. Is the speaker expressing universally-held opinions about suicide? Why or why not?
  4. Do you believe our speaker thinks as much about living as she does about dying? How can you tell?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Death becomes an everyday activity in this poem, oddly like shopping or picking out an item from a menu.

By trivializing death, our speaker inadvertently valorizes (read: paints it in a good light) life.

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