Study Guide

Bernice Bobs Her Hair Youth

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Ah, youth – a time for experimentation, challenging authority, and folly. "Bernice Bobs Her Hair," like many of Fitzgerald's stories and novels, contemplates what it means to be young, specifically, what it means to be young in a wildly changing social climate. The young people we see here challenge the belief systems they grew up with, and, at times, they shock their parents and other elders. The story asks us to ponder youth and its value, while also looking rather fondly back at the teenage years as a time of rash decisions and heightened emotions. Yup, sounds about right to us.

Questions About Youth

  1. Do you think Fitzgerald defines youth or experience as more valuable?
  2. What is Fitzgerald's attitude towards the youthful characters we see in the story, particularly Marjorie?
  3. Is youth any excuse for irresponsible or irrational behavior?
  4. How do the older characters in the story view the younger ones? Is this simply a result of age and experience, or is it a result of changing social conditions?

Chew on This

While youth is depicted as a privileged time in "Bernice Bobs Her Hair," Fitzgerald also highlights its essential naiveté.

One of the main goals of "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" is to communicate the motivations and beliefs of a shocking, new generation to older, more traditional readers.

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