The Impact of Dorothy Parker on the Development of Culture Essay Example

The 1920s was a significant period of time because of the rapid change in moral values as well as the economic growth in America. There were influential people that contributed to this sudden change, being called Agents of Change due to their impact on America’s evolution. However, there was one notable figure who made her mark on American literature with her wit and passion. Dorothy Parker proved herself to be an Ultimate Agent of Change by introducing a distinct style of writing as well as benefiting the public through her beliefs and interests.

The impact of Dorothy Parker was seen in her works, in which she presented a unique writing style. Inspired by her personal experiences, she developed a satirical form of writing. Satire uses dark humor to criticize people or beliefs. Her childhood played a role in the adaption of this style. She was known to be  "a late unexpected arrival in a loveless family" because of her abusive father and the loss of her mother (ABC-CLIO 2019). One of the schools she attended was prestigious in anthropology. She rose as the top student, known for her keen nature and eloquence. She grew to despise her childhood and the society that was prevalent then. Following her graduation in 1911, she got a job at Vogue to write captions for clothing designs to support herself. She thought her newly-developed satire attitude would make for a fashionable review of literature, so she wrote her captions in such a way. They caught the attention of Vanity Fair, another magazine.

A few years after she transferred there, she rose to fame as a drama critic. She soon began publishing essays, poetry, and short stories throughout her career, in the same satire-like style. Her works gained an enormous amount of attention since no author had expressed their emotions as critically as Parker had. It gained controversy, as many found her statements about the faults of the world offensive. However, Parker’s writing brought boldness to literature that allowed such expression to be used with no fear. Her poetry allowed her to be “recognized as a reliable, insightful judge of literary merit. The writing skill and understanding of human weakness that Parker showed in her short stories were confirmed in 1929 when she won the O. Henry Memorial Award for ‘Big Blonde” (UXL Biographies 2006). Henceforth, the impact that Parker’s writing style had could classify her as an Ultimate Agent of Change.

Parker’s affect on society was also shown through the way she benefited the American people using her beliefs and interests. Parker was very politically involved. During and after the Spanish Civil War, she was national chairman of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee, which helped refugees make a living during the war. She was also involved in the protests against the Sacco and Vanzetti trial during the time of the Red Scare. Being “an advocate for the repeal of the death penalty, Parker protested in Boston the 1927 execution of the anarchists…” (UXL Biographies 2011).

She had also left her savings to Martin Luther King Jr. when she passed away. Many public figures were reluctant to get involved in political affairs, but Parker expressed herself through her beliefs, ignoring the controversy surrounding her involvement. As she developed as an author, she was also given the opportunity to write scripts for various plays and movies. She grew as a screenwriter and producer, proudly presenting works such as "A Star is Born" (1937), which was nominated for an Academy Award. Parker received a second Academy Award nomination for Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman” (Kort 2016).

She had not only earned respect as an author and activist, but as a producer as well. She also collaborated with many famous directors for certain scripts and plays. She developed friendships with many writers in an association known as the Algonquin Round Table, and her relations with them helped her to specialize her career in different areas of the fine arts, such as filmmaking. The Academy Awards she earned also demonstrate the success her movies garnered within a short amount of time. With that being the case, Parker’s passion, well-roundedness, and abilities are shown as she benefited the American people using her beliefs and interests. 

Parker’s works helped develop the culture and entertainment industry of the 1920s in America. To this day, amny sti reminiscine Parker’s works. For example, A Star Is Born was rebooted into a 2018 version, with similar words that Parker developed for the original. Big Blonde is still seen as a short story that shows the personal struggles of a party girl during the 20’s, loosely based off Parker herself. As literary critic Edmund Wilson noted, "[Parker] has put into what she has written a voice, a state of mind, an era, a few moments of human experience that nobody else has conveyed." (Kort 2016). In closing, Dorothy Parker proved herself to be an Ultimate Agent of Change by introducing a distinct style of writing as well as benefiting the public through her beliefs and interests.



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