Analysis of Katherine Mansfiled's Bliss, the Fly and the Daughters of the Late Colonel

Topics: World War II, World War I, Bliss Pages: 3 (1145 words) Published: August 21, 2013
Passage Analysis: Bliss, The Fly and The Daughters of the Late Colonel Katherine Mansfield’s “The Collected Stories” purvey characters who are frustrated and disillusioned by the constraints and demands of society and the way it stops them from expressing emotion and control. This could be the desire to burst out with happiness, such as in “Bliss”, or sadness and distress at the lack of control over one’s future and life, such as in “The Fly” and, similarly in the “Daughters of the Late Colonel”. In Passage One, from “Bliss”, Mansfield has just had Bertha Young finish a meal with her so-called friends, but instantly reveals Bertha’s seeming exasperation by commenting, “It was over at last”. In the context of the story, Bertha wants to move on, interact with Miss Fulton, for whom she feels an erotic connection, also Bertha feels discontented with her middle-class crowd – Bertha wants to burst out with “bliss”, but feels she cannot or she will be seen as “drink and disorderly” as they all say and do the “right” things. Both ideas reflect Mansfield’s own life. In fact, Bertha Young (a symbolic name to express her desire for youth) seems most to be like the “baby phoenixes”, as though wanting to start life again. The frippery of their conversation, with the “new coffee machine” being used as a brag, shows a lack of real intimacy in the group, a point not lost on the name of “Face”, a nick-name reflecting any real identity or personality. This lack of connection is reflected later in the passage as the conversation amongst the people in the group have no flow, no connection whatsoever, they are simply statements about “writers” and “backs of chairs” and “chip potatoes” and “frying pans” – just like the coffee machine: simply items of value, but no content. This idea is contrasted with that of the symbol of the “pear tree”. Only Bertha and Miss Fulton go out to see the tree. They stand there and look at the phallic symbol of their growing sexual desire for one...
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