Study Guide

Bernice Bobs Her Hair Identity

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We all know what it feels like to try and figure out who we really are. It's easy to be swayed by fashion – don't we all want to have the right pair of jeans or the right sneakers, even if we don't exactly like them? At times, don't we all want to look like this model or that actor, even if we won't admit it to ourselves? It's tough to develop – and maintain – one's own sense of individual identity, when the whole world seems to want to tell us how to act, dress, think, and speak. The characters in "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" don't have it any easier. Even though this story takes place in the now-distant 1920s, we can sympathize with them; they're all dominated by social expectations, pressures, and judgments of the trend-heavy world around them.

Questions About Identity

  1. How would you best describe the identity of the modern woman that Marjorie describes?
  2. Do you think that Marjorie and/or Bernice really live up to this description?
  3. Do you think Marjorie's carefully cultivated image aligns to her real identity and beliefs?
  4. Do you think that pre-makeover Bernice had a clear grasp on her own identity?

Chew on This

Though she undergoes a significant transformation throughout the story, Bernice doesn't discover her true identity until the final scene.

Though Marjorie appears to be confident and self-assured on the surface, her public image is simply a hollow, carefully-constructed shell.

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