Bernice Bobs Her Hair

by

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Bernice Bobs Her Hair Themes

Themes and Colors
Social Competition Theme Icon
Gender and Femininity Theme Icon
Youth and Generational Difference Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Bernice Bobs Her Hair, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Social Competition

“Bernice Bobs Her Hair” tracks the social climb of its titular protagonist—Bernice, a teenage girl from a wealthy family who proves to be awkward, old-fashioned, and unsocial among her peers. In 1920, when F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote this story, teenagers had just come into their own as a distinct age group, with their own culture, values, and norms. For the first time in America, teenagers freely dated one another without adult supervision, and…

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Gender and Femininity

“Bernice Bobs Her Hair” is largely a discussion of the value of femininity, and of what society expects of a young woman in 1920s America. Nearly every character in this story, major or minor, holds some opinion on the matter—and both Bernice and Marjorie evaluate themselves against the traditional feminine standard, to different conclusions. Fitzgerald uses this very difference to underscore the struggle that teenage girls faced in 1920: that is, being forced to define…

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Youth and Generational Difference

Though the story’s main conflict focuses on Bernice and Marjorie, a broader, subtler conflict is shown to play out between the older and younger generations. At the start of the 1920s, when Fitzgerald was writing, a new teenage culture was coming into being, and adults, especially of the conservative upper class, reacted with indignation and scorn. “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” uses this generational conflict to apply pressure to its protagonist, as Bernice must weigh…

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