A Certain Lady Poem Analysis

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“A Certain Lady” is a short poem written by Dorothy Parker detailing a woman’s thoughts on her relationship with a mysterious man. The poem is written as a monologue about the woman’s ability to appear happy around the man and his inability to gauge her true feelings. Despite her affection for him, he constantly tells her stories of his exploits with women. While the topic itself seems simple in nature, the relationship in question, as well as the poem itself, is quite complex. Each stanza adds layers of complexity to the poem. Details on the speaker’s thoughts are provided and create numerous questions about the finer points of the relationship between the two characters. Are the two actually lovers? For what purpose does the man tell her …show more content…
The narrator of the poem is a woman who is in love with the mysterious man. She refers to him as my love in line 23 of the poem, and mentions her heart has died a thousand little deaths in the wake of his shameless womanizing in line 8. She also clearly possesses the ability to control her behavior despite her emotional state. Throughout the poem there is a repetition of the phrase “Oh, I can” followed by behavior contradictory to her actual feelings. She states that she can smile, laugh, listen, and marvel at this man’s tales of bedroom conquests, yet it is clear his behavior does hurt her. However, she fakes such false happiness because this is what he expects of her. In line 19 she remarks “Thus do you want me-marveling, gay, and true.” She behaves in the way that pleases him. In contrast to the narrator, the mysterious man is completely unaware of the depth of feelings experienced by his companion. He is not only a womanizer, evident by his tales of late delights with indiscreet ladies, but he also lacks the same level of emotional sensitivity as the …show more content…
Perhaps it is because she is unlike the women that he has his late night adventures with. He finds joy in the false sense of cheerfulness that she radiates. He believes her to be “gay as morning, light as snow.” He wants her to be marveling and true. The desires he has towards her are those of personality and not appearance. Thus, despite his liaisons he always finds himself coming back to her. Yet, she is not content with this relationship. Her repetition of “I can do this” comes with a lack of sincerity. Just because she comes off as pure and sweet does not make it so. She clearly desires the man in the poem, she clearly disapproves of his womanizing. She exclaims in line 21 that he strays in search on novelty, implying not only should he be classified as hers (he would have to belong to her in order for her to stray), but that she is superior to the women he spends his nights with. Such women are playthings, he goes to them because they are new and enticing, yet she is keenly aware that in their relationship he will still come back to her

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