Dr. Trudier Harris
30 October 2012
Visual of a Women, from Katherine Mansfield’s Point of View Obtuse, emotional, imaginative and lost are some of the characteristics Katherine Mansfield uses to portray her female characters. Even though she always goes against the current of life she never really finds herself and this insecurity she expresses in her works. In her short stories, “Miss Brill”, “The Daughters of the Late Colonel”, and “The Garden Party”, Katherine really shows how she thought of women by stating their place in society, emphasizing their personalities, and relationships with the opposite sex. Katherine Mansfield originally known as Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp, was born on October 14, 1888, in Wellington, New Zealand, to Harold Beauchamp and Annie Burnell Dyer. Harold was a banker and Annie was a stay at home wife. Born to a wealthy and prestigious family, Mansfield was expected to grow up to marry a suitable man and live the life of a well-bred woman. However, that is not the plan Mansfield had for herself; she was very adventurous and rebellious. She grew up inspired to be a writer and was educated in London. She studied music and wrote for a school newspaper, while studying the works of early twentieth century writers. Mansfield was more focused in the progress of her writing than fitting into the ideal image of a woman of her society. In 1907, she began writing short stories for an Australian magazine for a short period of time. After this she returned to London and got pregnant from an affair with Garnett Trowell, a musician. Soon after, she wed George Bowden, who she had only met three weeks before and left before the wedding night was over. Mansfield wore black to her wedding in opposition to the traditional white dress. Mansfield’s mother found out about her open affairs with both men and women, she sent her to a German spa. She did this in hopes of purifying the lifestyle and way of writing Mansfield laid claim to. In 1910, Mansfield got an STD. The following year she met John Middleton Murray, a literary editor and critic. Murray was the first roommate that Mansfield had in her flat, and he soon became her lover. Also, in that same year she published some satirical sketches of some German characters under the title, In a German Pension. In 1915 she met her brother, “Chummie,” who later died in World War I. After this event she focused her writing on New Zealand and her family. In 1918 Mansfield divorced her George Bowden, and married Murray. That same year she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Her best work is said to come from the 1920s. The climax of her career came from her short story, “The Garden.” Her strong-willed attitude affected many writers presuming her one such as Virginia Woolf. She spent her last years in southern Switzerland and France. There she underwent ineffective treatment which was the smelling of cow odors for several hours a day. Entirely alone in her last years, she wrote about her childhood and her origin. She finally died of a massive pulmonary hemorrhage on January 9, 1923. Her last words were, “I love the rain, and I want the feeling of it on my face” (Jones). “Miss Brill” is a story about an elderly lady. She takes routine walks in the park on Sundays and enjoys watching the many festivities occurring. Miss Brill wears a fur pullover from a red eider. She describes the events as perfect scenery. She imagines herself to be in a play. Everything is jolly and perfect in this world until some rude teens interrupt. She immediately goes home sadden and puts her eider pullover away, and as she walks she imagines she heard it “cry.” It was only just another trick played on her by her aging mind. “The Garden Party” is about an upper class family, the Sheridans, hosting a garden party. The mother of this family leaves her young adult children to prepare for this event. There are four kids Laura, Laurie, Jose, and Meg. While preparing, the...
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