Sunset Gun: Twilight Whispers: Aging and Mortality in Parker's Reflective Poetry - Dorothy Parker

American literature essay. Literary analysis of works and characters - Sykalo Evgen 2023

Sunset Gun: Twilight Whispers: Aging and Mortality in Parker's Reflective Poetry
Dorothy Parker

Twilight Whispers: Reflective Poetry by Dorothy Parker on Mortality and Aging
In her latter work, Sunset Gun, the queen of wit and mordant humor, Dorothy Parker, cast a contemplative gaze on age and mortality. This book, which was published in 1928, represents a change in tone from Enough Rope's young cynicism to a more contemplative and elegiac style. Parker explores the bittersweet reality of aging as the sun sets and the shadows grow longer, crafting twilight whispers that are simultaneously defiant and accepting.

Turning to face the setting sun

Unafraid to face the passing of time, Parker no longer hides behind his young exuberance. Poems such as "Resumé" and "Last Chance" list the bodily changes and losses associated with aging, debunking romantic views of aging using stark imagery and direct language.

"Resumé" is a life in reverse, with each line serving as a reminder of what once was and what is forever lost. It lists previous relationships and accomplishments.

"Last Chance" makes fun of the pointless attempts to relive childhood by stating, "I never thought the years would come / To rob me of my bloom."

Remaining Silly Laughter:

However, Parker's distinctive humor remains somewhat intact despite his passing. Her humor becomes more self-deprecating and sardonic, with a darker undertone.

In "The Old Do Not Sleep Much," she examines the difficulties older people have with sleeplessness and finds humor in their sleepless evenings and uninteresting pursuits.

"Some Say" makes fun of the social pressure to stay young by encouraging people to "laugh and sing and dance and flirt" despite sore joints and changing appearances in the mirror.

The Embrace of Mortality:

Parker explores topics of loss and death in greater detail through her introspective viewpoint. Poems that address the transience of life and its inevitable end include "One Perfect Day" and "The Silver Lining".

"One Perfect Day" envisions a last day free from suffering and regret, a peaceful and accepting moment before the curtains close.

"The Silver Lining" finds comfort in the idea that everything is interconnected and that death is only a natural cycle that returns us to the planet from whence we originally came.

Technical Proficiency:

Parker continues to demonstrate his command of form in Sunset Gun. She switches between sonnets and free poetry with ease, using more complex and expressive vocabulary. She frequently uses natural imagery in her works, which captures the passing of time and the shifting of the seasons.

Durable Impact:

Sunset Gun is a tribute to Parker's bravery and candor in facing her own mortality as well as a compilation of poetry on growing older. She challenges us to confront our own anxieties and discover beauty in life's inevitable decline by sharing her twilight whispers.

Additional Analysis

Examine how certain literary movements, like the Lost Generation and the emergence of confessional poetry, impacted Parker's later writing.

Examine how memory and nostalgia figure in Parker's poetry. How does she think about the future and illuminate the present with the help of the past?

T.S. Eliot and Edna St. Vincent Millay are two poets who wrote on similar issues; compare and contrast their handling of aging with Parker's.

In summary:

With a bittersweet mix of wit and wisdom, Dorothy Parker confronts the shadows of aging and mortality in Sunset Gun, baring her soul. Her twilight whispers strike a deep chord with us, telling us that beauty and purpose can still be found in the waning light of our life even after the sun sets.