One Perfect Rose Summary and Analysis by Dorothy Parker

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Dorothy Parker- Dorothy Parker, born on August 22nd 1893, was an American poet, short story writer, critic, and satirist. Also known as Dot or Dottie, Parker was born Dorothy Rothschild to Jacob Henry and Eliza Annie Rothschild in New Jersey. Her mother died before she turned five and her father remarried. Unable to get along with her father and her step mother, he grew up as a troubled child. In 1911, she graduated from Miss Dana’s School, at the age of 18. Her first poem was sold to Vanity Fair magazine in 1914 and later was hired as an editorial assistant for another Condé Nast magazine, Vogue. She moved to Vanity Fair as a staff writer after two years at Vogue. At the magazine, she met Robert Benchley, who became a close friend, and Robert E. Sherwood. The trio began lunching at the Algonquin Hotel on a near-daily basis and became founding members of the Algonquin Round Table. Later in 1926, Parker published her first volume of poetry, Enough Rope. This followed with her success as a writer and fulfilled her career in Hollywood as a screenplay writer.

Setting of One Perfect Rose- 

Rose is the perfect thing one could picture when anyone talks about love. As the saga goes, in the poem too, a rose is depicted as a way of showering love. The poem runs on the typical cliché about how a romantic scene is completed by presenting a perfect, fresh rose. However, the poem contains an irony; there is an unexpected contradicting desire noted in the woman for materialistic good. The speaker wishes to be spoilt with expensive gifts like the perfect limousine instead of the perfect old school rose.

Poetic Devices in One Perfect Rose- 

Personification:

In the second paragraph, the poetess has compared the fragile leaves of the rose straight to the man’s heart.

Refrain:

In the 4th, 8th and the 12th line, the phrase, ’’one perfect rose” has been repeated which is same as the title.

Symbol:

The whole poem is based upon the cliché of creating a romantic feeling by using a rose. In the first line the speaker says that her man had sent her only one flower since they’ve met. This statement is still unclear if she’s complaining or just stating a fact. The first paragraph also describes the rose as pure and fresh-scented. The deep-hearted rose is descriptive of the heart of her man, his emotions as in the 2nd paragraph, the leaves of the rose have been personified as the man’s heart.  The rose has been found quoted as perfect yet ironically has fragile leaves. (paragraph 2)

Style:

The rhyme scheme of the poem, “One Perfect Rose” is ABAB.

Summary of One Perfect Rose-

The poem titled “One Perfect Rose”, written by Dorothy Parker, is undoubtedly a love poem but with a twist. Initially the speaker tells the readers how she received a rose from her man. She describes the rose beautifully, in a light, crisp and romantic writing style. The poetess even makes the rose speak by comparing its fragile leaves with that of the sender’s heart. The perfect romantic setting with the most beautiful rose, indeed. But, unlike all love poems, the cliché of a woman being wooed by sending her roses is then broken and instead the woman here wishes how he might have gifted her the “perfect” limousine. The poem is an amazing irony in itself as the rose has been glittered with perfection and praises but still unaccepted as the desire of the woman lies in much futuristic, selfish and materialistic goods.

Theme of One Perfect Rose-

The poem is a romantic themed piece but without the typical flowery and mystic feelings. In the poem, the speaker talks about her yearnings for a “perfect limousine” when she receives a “perfect rose”. The poem breaks all barriers and creates a sense of new, modern age love where the woman no longer can be simply put off with sweet flowers; rather they too desire of cars just like men do.

Tone of One Perfect Rose- 

The poem begins, by giving an enchanting description of the perfect rose given to the woman by her man. Although the first sentence of the poem is a bit ambiguous as the reader is unaware whether she is stating the fact that this guy sent the rose first time ever since they last met or is actually annoyed as to why has he sent the flower only once during all this time, yet still during the first two stanzas, the poetess makes us believe that it revolves around a love fantasy. The speaker describes the perfectness of the rose by terming it as pure, tender and a fresh scented one.  She even describes how the rose has been personified to the man and his heart which shows that his feelings are pure and deep rooted and that his heart is like the fragile leaves of the pure rose carrying pure emotions in itself. Suddenly, in the 3rd stanza, the tone of the poem changes completely and all of a sudden the perfect limousine takes place of the perfect rose. It continues to display the reel of her desires which contradicts the usual picture where women have been put in a circle where they can easily be swept off their heels by giving them flowers. This woman very clearly showcases her materialistic interests, to have cars just like men do. The poem reflects the essence of changing times, changing generations and changing interests.

Central Idea of One Perfect Rose- 

The poem revolves around the idea of changing times. Earlier, the roses were a perfect ornament for a complete love stricken couple. Now that the times have changed, the ornaments have also changed. Just as the craze for diamonds is more than gold these days, the desires like cars and other are more than simple scented flowers. The speaker tries to show the evolving fashion in romance these days while still holding the praises intact for the age old beauty and love for roses.

Conclusion- The poem concludes on the unfulfilled urge of the woman who desires a limousine instead of a perfect rose. The speaker has been given a rose by her man and although she appreciates its beauty in precise terms, she still yearns for a much pricey gift, i.e a limousine. The rose has been described as apt for a perfect romance- scented, fresh and pure and constantly reminded as well as a perfect flower. But, as the time passes, preferences also change and the poem enlightens the readers too with the fact that all women aren’t the same who are usually tagged for liking flowers; some too like either expensive, materialistic and/or manly pieces like cars. The poem actively tries to show the irony of understandings of mutual interests required for a stable and “perfect” relationship.

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