By Katherine Mansfield
The modern soul is more about characters than action. The story begins with the stereotype of the pompous German music professor explaining to the young English narrator why he incessantly eats cherries: “There is nothing like cherries for producing free saliva after trombone playing, especially after Grieg’s ‘Ich Liebe Dich’” He’s cherry eating is connected with a consuming desire for women. The two older Germans, the Professor and the German actress’ mother, talk incessantly of food and soul. They agree that the English are “fish blooded,” cold and without soul. The modern soul is posture and hypocrisy; the varieties of sexual attraction are puzzles and complexities that human beings cannot handle. Characterisation
The Herr Professor is sexist and openly expresses his sexual desire to the narrator. “...sticking the cherry bag between his knees.” “Or perhaps you don’t care to eat the worms.” These two quotes are a clear sexual metaphor representing the Professor’s sexual for the narrator but the narrator remains detached. “I prefer to watch you watch you eat them.” “Ich Liebe Dich” means I love you, another indication of the Professor’s sexual desire. The Narrator:
The narrator is un-moved and detached from the Professor’s desire for her; refusing his offer for cherries, which represent his sexual tendency, by replying “I prefer to watch you eat them.” The quote at the end of the story “I wondered” means the narrator wonders, metaphorically speaking, whether an actress, Sonia Godowska, is about to eat cherries with worms. Sonia Godowska:
Sonia Godowska is the modern soul in the story so she is the connection between the title and the story. “The professor appeared with his trombone, blew into it, held it up to one eye, tucked back his shirt cuffs and wallowed in the soul of Sonia Godowska.” This is a reference to her soul. Although it is not clear at that point, Sonia wishes to take a walk in order...
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