Having read many pieces of literature through short stories, it is evident that each story has its own unique use of symbolism. Diverse characters in each work of literature are used to demonstrate these forms of symbolism. The boss and his inner conflict illustrate a great deal of symbolism in “The Fly” by Katherine Mansfield. The boss’s perception of the actions of the fly creates an interesting view of the comparison of his father-son, father-fly relationship. Katherine Mansfield, a famous realist, who uses concrete images, appeals to many readers because she incorporates her life into the stories she writes. Much attention is paid to the central character, the boss and his life (Schoenberg). It is interesting how Katherine Mansfield shows us how the boss makes a connection between the fly and his son. The Boss views the fly as symbolizing his son and the different struggles the son faced in his life and how the young son’s life ended in death. This comparison is made by the author when she describes the fly struggle to free his body of the heavy ink which eventually leads to his death. The boss’s remarks about the fly’s courage to keep living is perhaps how he felt about his son’s courage on the battlefield. The Boss is very affected by the loss of his son in World War I. He focuses more on the outside world, “Come on, Look Sharp” (Mansfield 511) than the inside consisting of being loving and caring. His name the boss demonstrates the need to feel superior to others and prevents him from being on the same friendly level with others. Since the boss has no wife or other children, when his son dies he experiences a great deal of emptiness and turns into a broken man. This is because he feels as if his son is the only thing that gave meaning to his life. The boss lacks real inner strength and proves this by not being able to go and visit his son’s grave. It is perceptible that he is in denial about his son’s death (Schoenberg)....
Mansfield, Katherine “The Fly” The Story and Its Writer Compact. Ann Charters, 7th ed.
New York: Bedford /St. Martin’s, 2007. 505-509.
Schoenberg, Thomas J., Ed "The Fly, Katherine Mansfield: Introduction." Short Story Criticism 38. Gale Cengage, 2006. eNotes.com. 2006. 27 Jan, 2009 http://www.enotes.com/short-story-criticism/
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