Bliss – Katherine Mansfield Essay
Bliss – Katherine Mansfield
Bertha Young felt the bliss in her soul, family, and everything that surrounded her. There were sunny days, happy faces, smiles everywhere and it was this purity that let the bliss flow around her, fulfilling her house and her anima day and night. Bertha’s mirror reflected only the image of innocence and blind happiness! Thirty years facing this world, Bertha and reality were two strangers who lived together never realizing it. Sometimes the innocence or purity may only correspond to one aspect of a character’s personality or background, but not in Bertha’s case.
She is oblivious to the mysterious reaction of her new “best” friend, to the reasons why her husband, Harry, did not like her friend, and also to this sudden realization of the bliss in her family! “Oh Nanny, do let me finish giving her supper while you put the bath things away.” “Well, M’m, she oughtn’t to be changed hands while she’s eating.-said Nanny” (Mansfield 201). The character is so incredibly happy without knowing why, not asking questions about the nanny’s possessive nature with her child, or why her life seems so simple. It is in the way she looks at the fruit on the table, matching the carpet so well that her heart is filled with absurd joy. “I’m too happy – too happy!” (Mansfield 203).
It is almost sad the way the woman never questioned her fate, just accepted it and rushed headlong into the worst possible scenario of her life- namely her husband in the arms of another woman. Her entire house of cards falls. The woman, mostly alone with her thoughts and deeds eventually comes to the realization that every preconceived notion she had about her life is in direct conflict with the truth and everything she held dear is worthless.
This foundation on which she had built her life is now shattered, irretrievable, and it will force the woman to ask why she had never wondered about her life. “Harry and she were as much in love as ever, and they got on together splendidly and were really good pals” (Mansfield 203). It is obvious that her innocence prevented her from realizing her husband’s true feelings! He committed adultery in a very cruel way, pretending to dislike her new “best” friend! He knew how naïve his wife was, and he took advantage of it, fooling her the way he did!
Loyalty is such an important virtue among relationships, no matter what kind they are! If there is no honesty, loyalty, trust, and faith then there is no reason for the relationship to keep going! Most of the time, it is quite possible for a woman to be able to tell when her husband is not fully satisfied, or when he is seeing someone else, but poor naïve Bertha never worried about; it did not even cross her mind! This innocence and lack of experience, later corrupted and manipulated by the evil hands of adultery, shaped her life the way it did, hitting her harder than she would have ever imagined, giving her the experience she lacked!
Bliss is not a story about sadness; although that is the first reaction- it is the story about achieving adulthood and independent thought. For this woman will never again go around blindly, accepting the social norms of what has been dictated to her from birth. The point of the story is the imagined next day of this woman, who has been so shaken to her core, and how she will survive the knowledge of hypocrisy in the world. So this poor woman is actually a hero- she has gone through her adolescence a bit later than one would hope of a modern day woman, but nonetheless, she has achieved her own independence. So in reality, it is a story of triumph.