Katherine Manfeild's Her First Ball

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"Her First Ball" is a title which itself suggests anticipation, excitement, fun; it is all that and more for Leila. Through the absent narrative, she is presented to us as a simple, innocent shy country girl who is yet to experience something fun and grand, like this ball. In fact, this ball itself is used as a metaphor for her own life; her transition from the innocent youth to the mature adult. We see this as the story progresses, and through her actions we recognize her thoughts. At the beginning of the story, we see her describing every tiny detail and personifying every inanimate object, giving life to every object she comes across; thereby portraying her liveliness, her excitement, and her wonder at every new thing she comes across. The details enhance the enchantment she feels and capture her zeal. We can obviously sense how Leila's perception of the ball is that of a dreamlike event- one cannot help but compare her great expectations to the Cinderella story- it is as if she is living her very own fairy tale. She tries very hard not to appear as excited as she feels and wishes to keep Laurie's fastenings as a keepsake- showing us that she is being slightly over sentimental, that she is putting too much feeling into every little action. The simile "like a flower through snow" suggests her awakening; it is Leila's first ball, and her first exposition to society. She paints us a pretty picture with every little detail, words like ‘bright', ‘gay' and ‘float' convey the light, happy way she is feeling. Leila arrives at the ball to meet the chaos and so we are thrust into her happenings: we catch the different conversations around her, different actions, glorious descriptions of the women's apparel. She seems so enthralled, so entirely caught up in her surroundings that one is surprised upon hearing her earlier thoughts, where she longed to stay home and take comfort in her dark surroundings- where she had a sense of foreboding, however subtle. But she gets...
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