Except for few the italicized lines interspersed, the point of view here
is first-person. One might be tempted to call this
stream-of-consciousness, but it's not. Stream-of-consciousness (as in
Alice Walker's "Roselily") is much less formal, as if trying to be a
representation of pre-conscious or even pre-linguistic thought. This
inward diatribe is well-crafted, so "internal monologue" is the best
Anyone who does not like this text probably is frustrated by the apparent
fact that the narrator perpetuates her own misery -- especially at the
end, of course, when she begs persistently, despite everything (!), for
the dancing to continue. She could easily get out of further dancing
quite politely now, even if she couldn't earlier (which is doubtful).
Notice the subtlety here:
What can you say, when a man asks you to dance with him? I most
certainly will not dance with you, I'll see you in hell first.
Why, thank you, I'd like to awfully, but I'm having labor pains. Oh, yes,
do let's dance together--it's so nice to meet a man who isn't a
scaredy-cat about catching my beri-beri. No. There was nothing for me to
do, but say I'd adore to. (47-48)
How many possible answers does she list? Three? I think "No" is the
fourth possible answer to being asked to dance -- not that she's aware of
the irony, but the author is.
This story also contains my favorite literary quotation: "Trapped like a
trap in a trap" (47).
The main point of the story, though, explains the peculiar ending:
simply, it's fun to bitch. If the dance ends, so too ends the
narrator's ability to entertain herself inwardly and quite wittily. We
all do this, and sometimes get on a roll when we're doing our crappy jobs
and thinking up song lyrics that insult our bosses. Mowing lawns bring
out (well, not really "out") that creative and snide inner voice
delivering a killer stand-up monologue that no one will ever hear.
Parker, Dorothy. "The Waltz." The Portable Dorothy Parker. Ed.
Brendan Gill. NY: The Viking Press, 1973. 47-51.