Study Guide

Here We Are Writing Style

By Dorothy Parker

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Writing Style

Colloquial 1920s and 1930s American Dialogue

Parker's story is mainly composed of dialogue. Her two characters don't talk in Shakespearean soliloquies, but with the accents and quirks of 1920s and 1930s American English:

"Well!" the young man said.

"Well!" she said.

"Well, here we are," he said.

"Here we are," she said. "Aren't we?"

"I should say we were," he said. "Eeyop. Here we are."

"Well!" she said. (5-10)

This is a great example of realistic, inarticulate English, spoken by two people who have no idea what they've gotten themselves into. They might be a little more articulate than that, throughout the rest of the story—but this is still a good example of their general mode of speaking.

However, when Parker breaks into her own narrator voice, as she does at the very beginning and towards the very end, she writes in a more poetic and evocative kind of English. Here are two examples.

She had been staring raptly out of the window, drinking in the big weathered signboards that extolled the phenomena of codfish without bones and screens no rust could corrupt. (4)

There was a silence with things going on in it. (97)

In the first sentence, we get the sense that Parker is smarter and more articulate than her characters. Exhibit A, in demonstrating that point, would need to be the words "extolled the phenomena [.]" In the second sentence, we see her style doing its cryptic job: what, exactly, is going on in the silence? Kissing? Frantic thinking? We can't be entirely sure—but the point of writing this way is to make us guess.

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