Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Dorothy Parker's poem Resume


  1. Lee says:

    Parker completely exposes herself in Resume. She expresses such naked pathos and longing that is so bittersweet. It is a tragedy that a woman capable of such lucid expression ahould have been so morose and mired in depression and hopelessness.

  2. Atalanta Pendragonne says:

    I have this poem tattooed on my forearm, over some old razor scars.

  3. Chaz says:

    Wow this poem really saved many people’s lives
    Very good poem

  4. KARSTEN says:

    this poem really inspired me.. and i can feel the agony of dorothy parker that lead her of doing this suicide attempts.. Life is Fine by Langston Hughes is also a poem about attempting to commit suicide with a touch of humor..

  5. camelia says:

    I entered this page for searching opinions on this poem and I saw all your comments and I just couldn’t help myself from not posting one too!!I really loved this poem and when sawing the Girl interrupted movie I was really amazed!!that is why I decided to do a liltte searche about its author!!it made me be no longer superhappy…:(

  6. erica says:

    yea…this poem definatly helped in the times i needed…i just wish she was still here today, i need someone i can relate to.

  7. amy says:

    i love this peom and has helped me alot from killing my english teacher at school, and it has also got me through my poetry project without a fail mark. thnx Dorothy

  8. Janna says:

    I chose Dorothy Parker as my subject for the poet study I am doing for English because Resume was an interesting poem to me. Parker is very straightforward and cynical about life and living.

  9. Will Hemphill says:

    I was introduced to this poem by the character Lisa in the movie Girl, Interrupted. She recites it in one scene while playing cards. The poem is so truthful. I have attempted suicide several times and come very close to death twice. Most people don’t understand just how difficult a thing to do suicide is. Plus, as Parker writes, it’s no fun

  10. Kayla says:

    I was in English class, looking for a poem/poet to do a presentation on. I decided on Dorothy Parker because I skimmed through her book, and I knew she must have been brilliant. How could somone so depressed make words turn into magic like she does. I really feel like a better person, just knowing this poem exists. I Agree with most of you. Too bad I wasn’t allowed to chose the poem for my presentation..It was too short. But I promise, I will mention it.

  11. SwanSongstress says:

    A poem means different things to different people.

    “resume” has always been a fave, that suicide is an option is a strange comfort, but one nevertheless. I always thought that Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on A Snowy Evening” was a contemplation of suicide.

  12. Susan says:

    This poem is so intriguing…mainly because it’s meter. The poem starts is trochaic and makes it sharp, each beginning word jumping at you strong. But the last line in iamb symbolizes this dark humor…like all of the sudden she became optimistic. It’s brilliant.

  13. Lauren says:

    My friend Kate told me about this poem and I think that it can be looked at in a lot of ways, but honestly, the poem is so true…it’s the reason why some of my friends and myself are alive today….Parker has done a great job on this poem and she is one of my favortie poets along with Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allen Poe

  14. Jessica says:

    I did my senior thesis on this poem. It would be nice to think of it as an ‘around the bush’ method of being cheery, but all she was saying was that all the trouble dying posed in itself was enough to convince her that it was equally hard as living and not worth the additional effort. And gosh, isn’t it the truth: that dying is sometimes too hard to accomplish no matter how miserable living is.

  15. Rich Ferguson says:

    Resume,like Too Blue by Langston Hughes, has a convoluted quality the reader can appreciate. The poem has the power to transform depression into humor. I had committed Resume to memory years ago and then it was lost in the cobwebs of my mind. The other day I saw part of a movie, Mrs. Parker, and went in search of the poem I knew I enjoyed, yet couldn’t recall. Seeing Resume listed I remembered it immediately.

  16. Tish says:

    TO Kat: I believe Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night” is the poem Leslie was referring to. Both Resume and …Good Night remind us that life is the better alternative. Resume has been my favorite poem since I memorized it in grade school.

  17. kat says:

    I love the poem. Recieved it on a card one year for my birthday. Very influential to me.

    Who is the Dylan you speak of, leslie? I’m very interested.

  18. Moby says:

    liz, I do not see Leslie saying how Lindon should interpret the poem, Leslie simply says she “thinks” this is what Parker meant. I do not see how Leslie is out of order, and I think your comments were completely uncalled for.


  19. Leslie Gowan says:

    I’m glad that the poem cheered you up when you needed it to–however, I don’t think Parker meant to be cheery or optomistic. Infact, the point of Resume was basically to say that even death was to much of a hassale to her–not that life was such a superior optoion.

    Anyway, I’m glad someone else on earth has read this poem and enjoyed it. Have you read Dylan’s ‘Rage Against The Night’? That’s a truley life affirming poem
    (from another suicidal drunk–go figure).

  20. M.L. Lindon says:

    I was recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure and metastatic cancer. This poem really cheers me up, as do so many of Parker’s works, and lets me know that a big part of survival is in the attitude.

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