‘But The One On The Right’ by Dorothy Parker

Parker, Dorothy 1929

But The One On The Right by Dorothy Parker, 1929

The magic trick:

Internal monologue

I feel like you can laud pretty much every Dorothy Parker story for its use of internal monologue. It’s kind of her thing. But, hey, the internal monologue is the best aspect of this story, so here we are.

The story captures very well all of the things running through our heads at a dinner party, all the things we don’t say. Unsurprisingly, most of these thoughts are very funny. And that’s quite a trick on Parker’s part.

The selection:

Well, the soup’s over, anyway. I’m that much nearer to my Eternal Home. Now the soup belongs to the ages, and I have said precisely four words to the gentleman on my left. I said, ‘Isn’t this soup delicious?’ ; that’s four words. And he said, ‘Tes, isn’t it?’; that’s three. He’s one up on me.

At any rate, we’re in perfect accord. We agree like lambs. We’ve been all through the soup together, and never a cross word between us. It seems rather a pity to let the subject drop, now we’ve found something on which we harmonize so admirably. I believe I’ll bring it up again; I’ll ask him if that wasn’t delicious soup. He says, ‘Yes, wasn’t it?’ Look at that, will you; perfect command of his tenses.


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