Short Story #158: Big Blonde by Dorothy Parker

Title:  Big Blonde

Author:  Dorothy Parker


Book cover: he Bedside Book of Famous American Short Stories edited by Angus Burrell and Bennett A. CerfHazel Morse is described as a beautiful and full-figured woman.  She has always gotten attention from men and eventually settles down with Herbie.  Their relationship seems to go well initially but soon falls apart.  Hazel wants to stay home and monopolize all his time and stay at home as opposed to their previous life that entailed a vibrant nightlife.  Herbie spends longer periods away from home and Hazel becomes friends with her neighbor Mrs. Martin who regularly entertains men with a largely absent husband.  Among them is Ed, who takes an interest and liking to Hazel.  They begin spending more and more time together.  One night she comes home to Herbie packing his bags for a job out West.  He leaves and Ed fills the spot that he left--though he has a family in upper New York and so must split his time.  He eventually leaves for Florida.  In this fashion, Hazel goes through several men and finds life rather lackluster and disappointing.  One night, she attempts suicide.  Her maid finds her the next morning and gets her to the doctor which saves her.  When she comes to, she is reluctant and disappointed about her being saved.  Her maid tries to cheer her up and argue that everyone has troubles.  She then shows her a postcard from her most recent lover, Art which only sends her back into her depression.  She asks for another drink.  


Hazel's decline is never quite clearly understood by herself and sometimes the reader.  It seems more than a story about physical sin and more about Hazel's lack of individual ambition beyond just finding people to spend time with and that pool of people continues to decline throughout her life.  Her dependence on men seems to lead to nothing good and leaves her with nothing--not even the men she finds herself connected with.  

Short Story #158 out of 365
Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  6/3/2014
Source:  The Bedside Book of Famous American Short Stories edited by Angus Burrell and Bennett A. Cerf.  Random House, 1936.  The story can also be found on this website

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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