Study Guide

Bernice Bobs Her Hair Part 3

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Part 3

  • The next day, Bernice spills her angst out to Marjorie, admitting that she overheard the conversation the previous night.
  • Bernice tries rather ineptly to guilt-trip the guilt-free Marjorie by saying that she should probably just go back home to Eau Claire. The grievances of the past few weeks all come back to her, including a nasty incident in which Marjorie insulted Bernice's dress sense (a touchy topic for many girls).
  • Bernice's attempts to instill guilt fail miserably, though, and she is dismayed when Marjorie doesn't try to stop her from leaving. In fact, Marjorie obviously can't wait for her cousin to get out of town.
  • Sobbing, Bernice flees. An hour later, she returns, hoping that Marjorie will coax her into staying. Nothing of the sort happens.
  • The two cousins face off, and Marjorie unleashes a dizzying display of criticism. Basically, she tells Bernice, any old fashioned ideas of womanhood and daintiness are out the window these days, and a girl's got to be spunky and witty, as well as rich and pretty, in order to succeed.
  • Bernice is overwhelmed by these new ideas. She disappears for a few hours, claiming a headache.
  • Marjorie goes out for the afternoon, and when she returns, a determined Bernice is waiting for her.
  • Bernice has decided that Marjorie might be right. She agrees to put herself in her cousin's care for the rest of her visit, promising to do whatever Marjorie tells her to.
  • Intrigued, Marjorie tells Bernice to write home and say she's staying longer.
  • The makeover begins immediately. Marjorie attacks everything from Bernice's eyebrows to her dancing, explaining that while she despises "dainty minds" (60), a woman has to be feminine and enticing on the outside.
  • Marjorie also lets Bernice in on a big secret – in order to be popular, women have to be kind and considerate even to the lowliest of men. Marjorie urges Bernice to use the less popular guys she meets as "practice" for the big fish.
  • A whole new world has opened up for Bernice over the past few minutes. She attempts feebly to thank Marjorie for this whirlwind lesson, but Marjorie will have none of it – she's too distracted wondering if Bernice should bob her hair.
  • This last bit is too much for poor Bernice. She's overwhelmed.

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