Katherine Mansfield Essay, Research Paper
Katherine Mansfield illustrates many different human relationships
all interacting with each other.
The Dolls House is an example of social classes and inequality amongst people,
Bliss shows social status, emotional distance, fantasy and snobbery.
Miss Brill highlights loneliness, solitude and lack of adult communication.
The Dolls House emphasizes Kezia’s roll in the story, as she represents
innocence and opposition to common ways of thinking. Mansfield emphasizes
the power of conformity within a society.
The story commences with the arrival of a doll’s house sent to the Burnell
children. The older children admire the red carpet and plush chairs, but
Kezia, the youngest of the girls takes an interest in the rather plain lamp.
Kezia remains the odd ball of the group and befriends the Kelvey sisters,
because she does not see any wrong in doing so. The Kelvey’s are shunned
because of their economic status, throughout the town
“Many of the children were not allowed to speak to them.”
Without a second thought, school children and their families followed in the
consuming tradition of looking down upon these underprivileged people.
Kezia offers offset to this path of thinking and questions the blind
following. She asks her mother “Can’t I ask the Kelvey’s just once?” To which
the response from her mother is, “Run away, Kezia; you know quite well not”
Katherine Mansfield expresses the controlling nature of conformity
through Lena Logan s judgemental attitude. While others try to push
Kezia’s nonconformist views down, she pursues contact with the Kelvey sisters.
Lena Logan comes from a rich and upper class family and she publicly
humiliates the Kelvey sisters “Is it true you’re going to be a servant
when you grow up, lil, Kelvey?”
The group of spiteful girls learned their behaviour from the parents, and thus
this continues the cycle of conformity. “As she’d seen her mother do on those
Through The Dolls House, social classes and the gap between rich and poor
are emphasized by Katherine Mansfield.
Bertha Young, the main character of Bliss, she is a wealthy woman with
servants and plenty of time, yet she does not spend a lot of time with
her daughter, little B. She sees her baby as a sort of amusement and
entertainment. Bertha had been placed in a position of an “overseer” of
family and household, observing but never truly connecting emotionally. This
role was often given to wealthy women.
Bertha does not feel any control over her home, “Picking up the cushions
that Mary had disposed so carefully, she threw them back on to the chairs”
This seems as if Bertha was making an attempt to make her house her home.
“Why have a baby if it is to be kept in another women s arms?” “You’re nice,
I m fond of you. I like you. ” This is evidence of her emotional distance and inability to express or feel deep, profound love for another person.
Bertha has convinced herself that she is in love with Pearl Fulton, yet she hardly knows her. This shows that Bertha is superficial and that she lives in her head in a quite colourful fantasy world.
Bertha and her husband do not have a good relationship, she likes to believe that they are the best of friends. They are not honest with each other. Her husband, Harry, makes snide comments about Pearls lateness, but is really having an affair with her, Bertha is gullible and believes that he really does not like her.
Snobbery is a main theme in Bliss Bertha like this, and almost admired it in him very much. Her and Harry are both snobs, as are their friend, the Knights appear to look down at others. Their analysing and critiquing of each other helps them keep their distance from one another, they are quite oblivious to how pretentious and obnoxious they all are.
For the first time in her life, she desired her husband Bertha says this about her husband, but does not know that he is having an affair.
Bertha also could see Pearl as more than human, she is described by Bertha all in silver, Miss Fulton, with a silver fillet, dropped in silver flowers. Bertha seems to see things as she wants to and not as they really are.
When is shocked when she sees her husband and Pearl, another example of how disillusioned Bertha actually is.
In Miss Brill, Katherine Mansfield emphasizes the loneliness, solitude and isolation.
Miss Brill has no other adult communication . Mansfield puts emphasis on Brill s pathetic insignificant life. Brill has not relationships with any other adults, and thinks she is part of a fantasy play in which she thinks that she plays a part.
Be off with you is a cutting comment from one young adult. Miss Brill lacks love and has only her creative imagination.
Katherine Mansfield describes, illustrates and explain human relationships and her
Interest in them, she portrays a variety of relationships within her characters lives.