What themes are explored by Dorothy Parker in her story ‘A Telephone Call’?

In ‘A Telephone Call’ Dorothy Parker uses diction, tone and point of view to expose obsession and give it a voice. Parker shows the deep feelings of a woman experiencing an infatuation. The language usage and tone keeps a high paced unstable feeling throughout the story.

The story has an interior monologue narration Parker purposely uses this to highlight the theme of obsession. This is driver home by the fact that the reader hears the thoughts inside her head and feels the same obsession.

The entire list of emotions and reactions of the woman to her own thoughts form sub themes. But the two main themes are just two-Love and Absence. The author brings up issues such as the constraints of society upon gender. The author uses a very uncomplicated situation to highlight the power dynamics in a man- woman relationship. The critic April Middlejan, in her article ‘On the wire with Death and Desire: The Telephone and lovers discusses how the telephone is an intimate form of communication that brings together lowers while at the same time separating and emphasizing the distance between them. She suggests that the reason the woman cannot call her lover because it would put the woman in the position of too much power. Middlejan’s article also points out that the woman in the story exhibits the three stages of grief associated with death of her relationship – denial, anger and bargaining.

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