The story is very compelling, to say the least. In this story, Katherine Mansfield introduces the reader to a woman who is very much distraught over the death of her son. He was killed in a war and never came home. The lack of closure that she feels from never having even seen her son's body leads her to believe that he may not be dead, but instead, her son is just having a horrible nightmare from which he cannot wake up. She feels compelled to comfort him, but cannot, and it is tearing her apart.
When her son was a child, the woman would often sneak away from parties "to come to the foot of the stairs and listen" (459) to see if he was having a nightmare. She would always rush up the stairs to comfort him the second he cried out. She always felt like she needed to be his protector. She was always there, ready and waiting for the moment that he needed her. When he was in bed, "his dreams had journeyed with her back into the circle of lamplight" (459) and she was there, waiting to comfort him.
When her son was killed in the war, and never came home, it affected her greatly. Not only did she feel a sense of incredible loss, but also an overbearing guilt. She didn't fully believe that he was dead. "My sonmy precious childit isn't true!" (459). She felt like she let her son down by not being there for him. "Don't forget me! You are forgetting me, you know you are!" (459).
While spending a day out with her husband years after the death of their son, the mother is overcome with the memory of her boy. She had a hallucination that "she was hushing and holding a little slender boyso palewho had just waked out of a dreadful dream" (459). The boy was telling her about his horrible dream. He told her that he was lying down somewhere far away, and vines were growing over him. He said, "I called and called to youand you wouldn't comeyou wouldn't comeso I had to lie there forever" (459). She felt an unbearable sense of "anguish" (459) at the thought of not being...
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