Bernice Bobs Her Hair

by

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Mrs. Harvey / Aunt Josephine Character Analysis

Marjorie’s mother and Bernice’s aunt. Josephine Harvey is a middle-aged lady of considerable wealth and privilege. Representing an earlier generation, she gives voice to the conservative values against which the teenage characters rebel: prudence, reserve, marriage-oriented goals, and strict gender roles. Thus she informs a crucial part of the story’s setting and main conflict. Mrs. Harvey is dismissive of her daughter’s generation, unable to understand their values and tastes, which are so radically different from the ones she had been taught as a girl. She approaches the topic of this generation gap with a mixture of weariness, boredom, disdain, and mild amusement. Comfortable with their narrow perspective, uninterested in changing, she and her acquaintances—other wealthy older ladies, such as Mrs. Deyo—form an echo chamber of opinions, believing earnestly in the immorality and foolishness of youth. All of this having been said, Mrs. Harvey is not especially malicious. She praises Bernice not just for her manners and looks, but for her sweet disposition. Even so, it cannot be said that Fitzgerald depicts Mrs. Harvey or her views in a flattering light.

Mrs. Harvey / Aunt Josephine Quotes in Bernice Bobs Her Hair

The Bernice Bobs Her Hair quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Harvey / Aunt Josephine or refer to Mrs. Harvey / Aunt Josephine. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Social Competition Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Bernice Bobs Her Hair published in 1995.
Part 2 Quotes

“Sarah Hopkins refers to Genevieve and Roberta and me as gardenia girls! I'll bet she'd give ten years of her life and her European education to be a gardenia girl and have three or four men in love with her and be cut in on every few feet at dances.”

Related Characters: Marjorie Harvey (speaker), Bernice, Mrs. Harvey / Aunt Josephine
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

“I think it’s that crazy Indian blood in Bernice,” continued Marjorie. “Maybe she’s a reversion to type. Indian women all just sat round and never said anything.”

Related Characters: Marjorie Harvey (speaker), Bernice, Mrs. Harvey / Aunt Josephine
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 6 Quotes

“Why, child,” cried Mrs. Harvey, “in her paper on ‘The Foibles of the Younger Generation’ that she read at the last meeting of the Thursday Club she devoted fifteen minutes to bobbed hair. It’s her pet abomination.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Harvey / Aunt Josephine (speaker), Bernice, Mrs. Deyo
Related Symbols: Hair
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Harvey / Aunt Josephine Character Timeline in Bernice Bobs Her Hair

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Harvey / Aunt Josephine appears in Bernice Bobs Her Hair. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2
Social Competition Theme Icon
Gender and Femininity Theme Icon
Youth and Generational Difference Theme Icon
Deciding on a whim to chat with her Aunt Josephine before bed, Bernice goes down the hall to hear voices coming from her aunt’s room.... (full context)
Part 3
Gender and Femininity Theme Icon
At breakfast the next morning, Bernice confronts Marjorie about what she said to Mrs. Harvey the night before. On the verge of tears, Bernice says that she had “better go... (full context)
Part 6
Social Competition Theme Icon
Gender and Femininity Theme Icon
Youth and Generational Difference Theme Icon
Later that day, Bernice realizes just how badly she had been tricked when her Aunt Josephine remarks, aghast, that her bobbed hair will offend Mrs. Deyo, who is holding a dance... (full context)
Social Competition Theme Icon
Gender and Femininity Theme Icon
Youth and Generational Difference Theme Icon
...bags and plans her departure home for that very night, writing a brief letter to Mrs. Harvey to explain her reasons for going. Smoothly, with confidence, she calculates the time needed to... (full context)