Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"The Standard of Living." Dorothy Parker.

One-minute review: Two office girls establish their appearance as regal and wealthy. They play a game of “What would be the first thing you would do if you were left a million dollars in someone’s will?” With this illusory million dollars, they act as if they really have it. Their haughty behavior cows all who come in contact with them.

When they visit a jewelry shop, the obsequious clerk bows to their high station in life. When they ask the price of a double-rope of pearls in the shop window he says, “$250,000.” The reality that those pearls cost so much deflates their simulated standard of living and they leave the shop deflated, their poverty showing itself in their lack of composure and their office girl behavior.

75 Short Masterpieces: Stories from the World’s Literature. Ed. Roger B. Goodman. New York: Bantam Books. 1961. These summaries do not do justice to the vividness of the stories. RayS.

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