One of the world’s leading short story writers, Katherine Mansfield was born in 1888 in New Zealand. The second child of Annie and Harold Beauchamp, Katherine grew up in Thordon in Wellington within a large close family. In 1893, her parents, siblings, grandmother and aunts all moved to Chesney Wold where Katherine wrote of some happier times, the majority of which she has used within her stories. Attending Wellington Girl’s College and Miss Sawinson’s private school, Katherine and her two sisters then moved to London to attend and complete their education at Queen’s College, London.
It was here that Katherine decided to use a pen name, Katherine Mansfield and began writing Juliet, a novel which she never wrote to its entireity. (The Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society Inc) Throughout her life Katherine travelled a great deal and often travelled to Europe, it was during one of her frequent visits that she met a fellow traveller, Ida Baker who was originally from South Africa. Katherine and Ida became close friends and remained so throughout their lives.
In 1906 Katherine and her sisters returned to Wellington but lived in another family home, much larger than the previous homes there was also a holiday cottage where they spent many years, which can be read about in At The Bay. Despite her family living in Wellington, Katherine found life there very mundane and yearned for excitement in newer pastures. Her love of writing was strengthening her thirst for knowledge and she often expressed a wish to move to Europe so she may continue her dream.
Financed by her father, Katherine moved back to England without a second glance, she was never to return to her home town. (Jones) However, her love of writing suffered as Katherine allowed herself to become distratcted by men, she began several relationships only allowing herself to write a poem and a short story. Discovering very soon that she was pregnant, and from a gentleman in New Zealand, she met and married George Bowden, a singing teacher who was many years her senior. No sooner was the ink dry on her marriage certificate, when she left George Bowden.
Katherine’s mother learnt of this news and travelled to London, took Katherine for some ‘treatment’ and then returned to Wellington to attend her eldest daughter’s wedding. During Katherine’s ‘treatment’ in Bavaria she unfortunately miscarried her pregnancy. She suffered some dark and disturbing times during this period and wrote some satirical material, none of which she was completely satisfied with and refused to have republished. In 1911 Katherine revisited London and met another man, John Middleton Murry. Murry was the editor of Rhythm and they married in 1918.
Becoming the co-editor of Rhythm, Katherine also worked on The Blue Review before it folded and Murry was declared bankrupt. Various houses, none of them homes, Katherine it seemed, was to always lived an unsettled existence. In 1915, during World War I, Katherine and John became estranged and Katherine moved to France, then again back to London. Her younger brother, Leslie was training to be an officer at this time and they shared some nostalgic times together recalling their childhood times in New Zealand, these memories are all included in her tales of Wellington.
Unfortunately, at this same time Leslie was killed and the effect of this grief, her own ill health and her ever present desire to write prompted Katherine to return to France and it was here that she eventually settled and began to write. Sadly, this settled period was to be short lived and as she became involved with Murry again, they both returned to England, living next door to DH Lawrence in Cornwall. Moving yet again to Mylor, they continued to group with friends who were artists and writers, some as famous as Bertrand Russell and Dora Carrington, to name a few.
In 1916 Katherine was introduced to Virginia Woolf. Katherine had a work in progress, Prelude, which was a reworking of The Aloe, and this was then published on Woolf’s new Hoggarth Press, 1917. Encouraged by interest and her own desire, Katherine’s writing began to flow and it was after the publication of Bliss and Other Stories that her reputation as a writer became known. (Macmillan) Further ill health led Katherine to be diagnosed with tuberculosis and it was during this time she was advised to attend a sanatorium. The long, cold winters of England were to cause her too much suffering.
She became so ill that she decided to move to Italy, she was accompanied by Ida Baker, her South African friend. Her recently widowed father and his cousin Connie visited whom Katherine managed to offend as she refused to convert to Roman Catholicism, so Katherine and Ida moved yet again, this time to Switzerland, firstly to Sierre, then to the Chalet des Sapins at Montana-sur-Sierre. Here, Katherine wrote about her life and family and these were included in many of her last stories, The Garden Party and The Doll’s House, all recalling her Victorian upbringing within her family unit.
(Katherine Mansfield) By 1922 Katherine’s tuberculosis was considerably bad her and she left for Montana in Paris where she sought further treatment. Here she wrote The Fly and her last story, The Canary. She then entered the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at Avon near Fontainbleau where she sought enlightenment that would aid her recovery. Murry visited and it seemed she had found a final peace, how true this was as it was very soon after his visist that she died of a brain haemorrhage.
She was buried at a nearby cemetery. (Asiado) Works Cited Asiado, Tel. “Katherine Mansfield Biography. ” 18 September 2008. Suite 101. 15 November 2008 <http://great-writers. suite101. com/article. cfm/katherine_mansfield_biography>. Jones, Kathleen. “The Story – The Introduction. ” KatherineMansfield. net. 12 November 2008 <http://www. katherinemansfield. net/life/briefbio1. htm>. “Katherine Mansfield. ” Spartacus. 17 November 2008 <http://www. spartacus. schoolnet. co. uk/Jmansfield. htm>. Macmillan, Eric. “Mansfield, Katherine. ” 2003.
The Greatest Literature of all time. 17 November 2008 <http://www. editoreric. com/greatlit/authors/Mansfield. html>. The Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society Inc. “Katherine Mansfield 1888-1923. ” 2005. Katherine Mansfield . 12 November 2008 <http://www. katherinemansfield. com/mansfield/>. Research Paper What is the story’s central conflict? Feminism appears strongly throughout the body of this story as does family relationships. The women are strong, capable characters who take care of the running of the family and its structure.
Stanley Burnell, the main male character of the story appears to be as strong as the women but in actual fact he has insecurities and seeks approval and reassurance from his wife more than she relies on him. Family interaction and growing up centralise the characters and familiarise the reader with each individual. Who is the main character and what does he or she want? Linda Burnell is the main character, with perhaps Stanley Burnell featuring close behind. They are a family unit with friends and neighbours becoming included in this to assist with their move to the country.
Linda Burnell wishes for a better way of life and considers this move to be the way forward. What is the plot? A family living in New Zealand and their move to the country. How the Burnell parents seek a more favourable way of life away from town with their friends and children. What is the best point of view of the story and why? Seen from a child’s point of view, it is interesting to learn how Lottie and Kezia understand what is going on in a child like manner. Learning of their excitement and unawareness is perhaps why this story develops into something interesting rather than just about a family moving house.
In the background of the story it allows you to realise from an adult point of view the reasoning behind the house move, but to understand it from a child’s eyes is engaging and simple. Analyse a character, tone, appearance and motivation. Linda Burnell is a strong, straight to the point type of character; she has an ambition to move to pastures new and organises well. Her husband, Stanley is also a main character but shows that although he is the main male character, he needs a female reassurance to allow him to grow. Explain the setting in detail.
Moving from house to house, the setting is difficult to depict but the story is based in New Zealand around a family setting. Parents’ Linda and Stanley Burnell are moving to the country with their children. During the move, due to the organising and structure of the move, the children are encouraged to play with the neighbours and are tended to by them. What is the theme? The theme of this story is relationships. Not just between the Burnell family but also with the Samuel Josephs and people they have grown to know and include within their family who have lived nearby.
The female characters are believed to be the backbone of the family but the oppression of the feministic opinion of that time is also featured quite strongly. Men were considered to be the providers and the organisers when in actual fact it was the women who carried on regardless of having no money of their own and being oppressed by men at that time. List 5 symbols in the story and say what they stand for. 1. Strength of character in Linda Burnell. Even though things are not going according to plan, Linda Burnell manages to keep a hold on her frustration.
(Page 2) 2. The familiarity of home and the uncertainty of the unknown. Kezia remembers the old house and realises that this will no longer be her safehold. Taking in the noises and smells of her old home makes her feel safe and she becomes afraid of what is in store. (Page 7) 3. Accepting change. Upon reaching their new home the children see for the first time what their new life will be and although they take in their surroundings, it is not until they see their grandmother waiting in the porch that they feel comforted that there is nothing to be afraid of.
(Page 11) 4. The subservience of Stanley’s mother. Stanley’s mother is considerably agreeable towards her son and whenever he wants something, she obliges. There is no confrontation from the woman nor is her voice to point out that Stanley could perhaps do things for himself more. (Page 14) 5. The importance of being male. Stanley Burnell is an egotistical man and although unsure of himself as a person, he likes to be stroked egotistically. He seeks reassurance and approval from his wife. (Page 22).
Analysis – Prelude by Katherine Mansfield This story was enjoyable to read and easy to understand. The characters were depicted well and it allowed me to enter the story and be drawn by the structure and its meaning. Family relationships and the interaction of one on one relationships are prevalent in our everyday lives and it was interesting to read how the characters drew on their personal behaviour. Regardless of our own personal strengths and downfalls, a family’s love is unconditional and accepting of the good and bad in everyone.
The influences and knowledge that people learn within the family core are all integral of how we are shaped as a person. Within the story it is noted that Stanley Burnell is depicted as a strong, influential character yet he is dependent on a woman’s presence and assistance in many of his daily situations. His mother has abided by his ‘demands’ on many occasions, leaving him with the inability to function without doing things for himself. It has become second nature for Stanley to expect the women in his life to carry out his requests, something which his wife, Linda has also conformed to.
However, due to Linda’s own shortcomings, she has learnt to stand up to her husband in a non-aggressive manner, which makes Stanley believe he is not actually being ignored or disregarded. Linda’s own fears and desires are prevalent within the story and it is through these feelings that the reader is able to understand her ambitions and struggles within keeping the family together. Linda enlists the help of people she trusts and it is from that relationship that other relationships build themselves.
Katherine Mansfield’s representation of this from within her own experience and explains aplenty as to how she perhaps became who she was. Strong, yet dependent; weak yet in many ways the driving force of what she truly wants. Like her mother, there were ambitions and goals, only to be frustrated by the choice of a relationship with a man. Linda Burnell wished for more independence and had a slight resentment of the leanings Stanley had upon her but it is from this resentment that a change in her lifestyle began.
It is nice that within the story the relationship of inter-racial acknowledgement is recognised and interesting that from a child’s viewpoint, this is all just an everyday occurrence. Feminism was, and sometimes still is a bone of contention in any given situation, but the strength of both these women, black and white seem predominant within the story. As with Linda Burnell, Mrs Samuel Joseph portrays a strong, integral member of her family and it is the word ‘family’ that becomes the basis of the tale.
Reading about the childrens’ fears and misgivings enlightens the reader to their personal feelings about all that is about to change for them. They realise what is about to happen and instead of welcoming this change, as perhaps Linda Burnell is, they fear as they are unaware of what is around the corner. It is not until they are surrounded by their family and familiar possessions that they begin to embrace their future. In terms of knowing what this will bring upon them in the future, is something of an anticpatory and exciting period in their lives and an adventure that this family are all working together towards.
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