So who was the woman in Intuitive experiment #21?
The person in this experiment is American poet, writer, and critic Dorothy Parker. She was best known for her acerbic wit, and for her participation in the literary group known as the Algonquin Round Table. In later life she was involved in filmmaking and social activism, which resulted in her blacklisting by the Hollywood industry.
Early Life and Career
Dorothy was born to Jacob Henry and Eliza Rothschild on August 22, 1893 in Long Branch, New Jersey. Her father was of Jewish heritage, and her mother was of Scottish descent.
Parker’s childhood was a troubled one. Dorothy’s mother died before she was five, and her father remarried a woman she severely disliked. She accused both her father and stepmother of being physically abusive, and both died when she was still fairly young. Parker also lost an uncle, Martin Rothschild, in 1912 – a victim of the Titanic disaster.
Dorothy was raised on the Upper West Side of New York City, and attended a Roman Catholic school, even though neither of her parents were Catholic. She later attended Miss Dana’s finishing school, and graduated at the age of 18. She supported herself by playing piano at a dancing school after graduation, and began developing her poetry in her spare time.
In 1914, Parker sold her first poem to Vanity Fair magazine, and was hired as a staff writer there after working for two years as an editorial assistant at Vogue. She married stockbroker Edwin Pond Parker in 1917, but their union was troubled, and they divorced in 1928.
Algonquin Round Table
In 1918, Dorothy began writing as a theater critic for Vanity Fair, and in that capacity she became friends with fellow writers Robert Benchley and Robert E. Sherwood. The three of them began having lunch at the Algonquin Hotel almost every day, and thus the Algonquin Round Table was formed. The group later came to include Harpo Marx, George S. Kaufman, and Edna Ferber, and was known for its biting social commentary.
As a member of the Round Table, Parker became widely known for her wit, which served her well as a critic too. But when her caustic humor offended too many powerful people, she was fired from Vanity Fair in 1920. After The New Yorker magazine was created in 1925, however, she was invited to join the board of editors for the new publication.
This period saw Dorothy at her most productive and successful, as she wrote hundreds of poems and verses for a number of well-known magazines. She also published her first volume of poetry, Enough Rope, in 1926, to rave reviews. This success was followed by Sunset Gun in 1928, and Death and Taxes in 1931, as well as a number of others. Parker also wrote book reviews for The New Yorker from 1927-1933 under the byline Constant Reader, which were published as a collection in 1970.
After divorcing her first husband in 1928, Dorothy had a variety of romantic affairs. A relationship with playwright Charles MacArthur resulted in a pregnancy and an abortion, and Parker is reported to have remarked “how like me, to put all my eggs into one bastard.” This event caused her to fall into a depression, and led to her first attempt to commit suicide.
At around this time, Parker began to develop an awareness and commitment to political activism, which would last for the rest of her life. In 1927 she travelled to Boston to protest the executions of Sacco and Vanzetti, and was arrested with fellow Round Table member Ruth Hale. In the 1930’s and 40’s, she founded the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League, served as chair of the Joint Anti-Fascist Rescue Committee, and was involved with numerous other left-wing organizations.
The Hollywood Years
Dorothy married actor Alan Campbell in 1934, and the two moved to Hollywood on contracts with Paramount Pictures. Together they worked on over fifteen films.
Parker helped to write the script for A Star is Born in 1937, and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing – Screenplay. She also contributed music to The Big Broadcast in 1936, and received another Academy Award nomination for Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman, in 1947.
As a result of her social activism, Parker was identified as a Communist by the publication Red Channels in 1950, and was eventually shunned by the movie industry. Tensions in her marriage to Campbell (including infidelity on his part), led to their divorce in 1947, although they remarried in 1950.
Dorothy returned to New York in 1952 to write for Esquire, but her abuse of alcohol caused her writing to suffer. Campbell committed suicide in 1963, and Parker herself died of a heart attack in 1967, at the age of 73. She bequeathed her entire estate to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and after his death it was passed on to the NAACP. Her ashes, left unclaimed for many years, now lie in a memorial outside their headquarters in Baltimore.
Several readers picked up on Dorothy’s connection to writing and language, as well as her outspoken, acerbic personality and involvement in social and political causes.
Parker was definitely a character with a good sense of humor and good intentions, but her approach to the world sometimes put her at odds with people, and her wit was tempered by sadness and despair. This caused difficulties in her romantic relationships – a point that some of you remarked upon as well.
Readers mentioned Dorothy’s traumatic childhood, which is certainly accurate – she suffered many losses in her early life, including her parents and her uncle (from a cause related to transportation). Another reader picked up on her abortion, and due to her depression over that event, she did attempt suicide on more than one occasion.
Several of you mentioned Parker’s addiction to alcohol in her later years, as well as her regret, depression, and disillusionment with life. She greatly disliked her reputation as a wisecracker (however well-deserved), and later criticized the members of the Algonquin Round Table as “just a bunch of loudmouths showing off.”
For all of this, however, Parker’s own achievements and legacy persist, and she is remembered both for her writing and her efforts to support civil rights and equality. In the end, for all of her wisecracks, she proved to be wise in ways that continue to inspire the world.
So how did you do? I noticed a number of very strong hits in this experiment, and there will be another one posted very shortly.
I can’t wait to see what you come up with next time!
I look forward to these so much , at first as I read through I thought oh I’m way off this time but as I reviewed my post I’m now pleased ,
I had mental issues , maybe harmed children I see that she had the abortion and it affected her so much it led to a suicide attempt, I felt poisoning , I thought from her but it may well have been the husband suicide, I had murder ( a big miss ) , I saw a big house maybe a position of privilege ,I feel this was probably accurate , finally I had a breathlessness and falling away in my chest , I felt her death and heart attack, so overall in the end I am happy with my direction on this one , thanks Anna I love these chances to try honing my skills and working to understand how I read
It’s interesting that it feels different each time to me , I did think I would sense the same way each time but it hasn’t been like that , again thanks Anna I look forward to these experiments
What I saw with Dorothy is a half hearted smile, she wanted love and was ready to give it . She was frightened but not scared… The later facial expression shown by her is cover up. Loss of innocence.
Thank you, Anna, for the results. It’s great practice! I “heard” and saw her throwing a crystal bottle of alcohol or something at someone and it smashed on the floor. I interpreted this as “she can go crazy when somebody annoys her”, but maybe it was the alcoholism and one of her husbands that she’s thrown it at.
Thank you so much for doing this. Following your blog and doing the intuitive experiments with the group is helping me to validate the intuitive information I have been receiving most of my life. For so long I have brushed off intuitive information because I wanted so much to believe in and trust the people in my life. Now, I have made a shift and I trust the connection I have with Spirit. You may not know it, but you have played a major role in that shift.
One of my daily affirmations is, “what ever I need to know is revealed to me, what ever I need comes to me, all is well”. I now accept this reality.
Right now I have so many emotions flowing through me I don’t know what to do. I feel like I want to cry, laugh and even run around outside while crying and laughing. I will resist the latter for fear of being hauled away.
Anna, this reminds me of when I played basketball in high school and how I practiced free throws because I wanted to be accurate and consistent. Just like that made sense to me then, the intuitive experience make sense to me now.
Thank you again for all you do.
I always enjoy these even though I rarely add my two cents. However, for this woman I felt an instant connection/camaraderie. I picked up that she was a kind and fun-loving woman who had had some hard times. I thought she was active and outspoken for a cause and put most of her energy into that. I also picked up that she was a loving mother but that there was sadness and conflict around motherhood– the abortion and ensuing depression helps make sense of that.
I was sure she was European though! 🙂
THe last few experiments I have been totally off with 🙁
For this one, I swear the only thing that kept coming to me was Kathy Bates and a motel! Then 3 words in succession over and over again,,, Jail, Fraud and sell. Can you comment on this at all?
Well done, everyone!
Brett – Awesome! I am pleased you’re getting a lot from these experiments.
Isaac – It’s so wonderful to read your comment! So glad the experiments have helped validate your intuition. That basketball metaphor is a good one.
Veronica – Not sure if you are picking up on something we don’t know about or if this is an intuitive ‘miss’? If you Google her name plus your findings, you might find out more. If it’s the latter, practice is the key. Lots of people who haven’t done this before don’t do well on them.
Thank you for the response. I am probably just off.. but what I googled did come up with this.. LOL!!!
To quote noted television critic Dorothy Parker, “If you can make it through the pilot of Bates Motel, you can make it through the series… Maybe I was channeling the wrong person LOL! Doubtful but fun!
Thanks again! <3
Hi Anna and Everyone
My first impression was a scared little rabbit or deer caught in headlights (therefore famous), and frozen stiff with fear. Very Bambi-like!
Considering her character: Pic 1 was frantic, messy and vacant; Pic 2 was cautious and measured; and Pic 3 reminded me of Audrey Hepburn from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, so I got gentle, innocent and demure. Now I think this Audrey clue leant more towards the New York connection. Vera Wang also came up, so I considered involvement in fashion or design. Especially since earlier I picked up on the white dot in Dorothy’s hair in Pic 2, and I interpreted this dot as a pinprick, strengthening my fashion/design hypothesis. The Vera Wang clue obviously points to the New York connection, and it turns out both Dorothy and Vera worked at Vogue magazine. The dot I interpreted as a pinprick was actually Dorothy’s nicknames ‘Dot’ and ‘Dottie’. So I need to be mindful of my interpretations and not get tunnel vision!
Talking of vision I got ‘glasses’, the spectacle type (but maybe it also meant the champagne type because she was an alcoholic) One of Dorothy’s famous sayings was “Men seldom make passes / at girls who wear glasses”, and even though Dorothy was extremely near-sighted, she never wore her glasses in public.
I saw two converging lines on Dorothy’s face like the top half of a funnel, which could either be the letter “V” for Vogue magazine (or Vanity Fair), or the outline of a wine/beer glass funnelling in all that alcohol.
Pic 2 reminded me of Debra Winger, which links to Dorothy being American, being involved with a man in the defense forces (hubby #1), and also being close to someone who suicides (hubby #2/3) – all major themes from the “Officer and a Gentleman” movie. However I also got Northern Italian, French and British, so I was confused about her origin, and decided instead that she travelled a lot!
I strongly got poet then writer, and also script writing, especially about drama, detectives, and crime. The words ‘heretic’ (going against general opinion, especially religion) and ‘Excalibur’ (the famous sword belonging to King Arthur) popped into my head. King Arthur was also famous for his Knights of the Round Table, which is a direct, but rather cryptic clue to Dorothy’s famous 10 year long literary group lunches called the “Algonquin Round Table”!!!! Dorothy was a theatre critic too (and cutting)! Maybe the frozen stiff impression I got from Pic 1 was the writer’s block Dorothy suffered, as she got older.
I saw a tower of Marge Simpson hair, and apparently Dorothy ‘s thick dark hair was nearly as famous as her cutting wit! I picked up on her sharpness, seeing a hook and prickly sea anemone in her hair in Pic 1. The word ‘Cutsall’ popped into my head, which I interpreted this as a name or a mishearing of ‘castle’, but after the reveal, I realised I actually heard two words – ‘cuts all’ – referring to her satirical sharp wit and ability to cut anyone down to size with one sentence. Maybe this was what my ‘fractions’ clue also meant. Either that, or the fact Dorothy was only 1.5m tall! And tiny like Bambi!
I saw angel wings, a symbol that always means ‘activist’.
‘Swinging’ usually means suicide, and Dorothy had two(?) attempts. I heard Dorothy say, “I’ve had enough”, but I totally missed her depression and sadness.
Wife (of someone also famous), but I wrongly thought two children. The children clue conflicted with her blank, vacant stare in Pic 1, which usually means a killer, but the abortion fits in here. (Apologies to people upholding both sides of the abortion issue. Sorry if I offend.)
Variations of Frank, Francine, Frankston popped up and Dorothy had significant people in her life named Franklin, Francis (her Mother’s middle name), and Frank. I also got a name ending in _____all, which could be her 2nd/3rd hubby Alan Campbell.
Lastly, I found her hard to read, which has occurred with all these experiments showcasing writers.
Thanks Anna. A tricky subject indeed!
Hey, I’m getting better at this! 🙂 I picked up on sadness and worry and also that she was a fighter for rights of some sort. Looking forward to the next one!
I got lost, pain and dark side on this one. Waaaaay closer than I’ve ever been! Thanks for these Anna
It’s funny, when I saw her pic, she reminded me of Sylvia Plath–a poet who also committed suicide.