The Voyage, by Katherine Mansfield is a short story set in the early 1900s, about a young girl called Fenella who is being taken from her home in Wellington to live with her Grandparents in Picton, after the death of her mother. She along with her grandmother travels across the Cook Strait on the Picton Boat to her new home. Mansfield uses the literary techniques of symbolism, setting and dialogue to convey the idea of the transition from childhood into adulthood.
Mansfield uses the symbolism of the umbrella to show that growth within Fenella has occurred. Fenella’s grandma allows Fenella to take care of her “swan-necked umbrella” which is very precious to her. At the beginning of the story Fenella finds the umbrella large and awkward, “giving her shoulder a sharp little peck.” Her Grandma has to remind her to be mindful of the umbrella, “be careful the umbrellas aren’t caught in the stair rail.” This shows us that Fenella is still a child, young and irresponsible. During the middle of the story Fenella begins to be aware of the umbrella. On the boat Fenella thinks about the umbrella, worrying about its safety at the same time as her grandmother. “Fenella remembered she had left the swan-necked umbrella….if it fell over, would it break?” This implies that Fenella is being more conscience of the world, which shows the beginning of her change as she matures. At the end of the story when they are about to leave the ship Grandma begins to remind Fenella of the umbrella, but she does not need to, as Fenella has already done her job. “’You’ve got my—‘Yes, Grandma.’ Fenella showed it to her.” This symbolism shows us the Fenella’s sense of responsibility has grown and she is now old enough to take care of something on her own, which shows us the quick change from a child to a grown-up after the death of her mother.
The contrast of the setting also helps us understand the idea of the transition from childhood into adulthood. At the beginning Mansfield...
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