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A Glance at Katherine Mansfield's Life

Autor:   •  October 31, 2015  •  Term Paper  •  1,244 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,064 Views

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A Glance at Katherine Mansfield's life

Katherine Mansfield seems to be associated mostly with Great Britain. It is true that most of her creative life she spent in England but it is also true that she was inseparable connected with New Zealand culture. Her family lived in New Zealand for three generations. Katherine spent most of her childhood in a little town, where she attended a country school. There she started to take the first steps in her literature abilities. When she was nine years old she wrote a short story put in "The Lone Hand". However, her mature works were written in Europe. Katherine was taken to London to complete her schooling and there she started to be interested in music. But after five years she had to come back to her motherland. It appeared as a kind of disaster for her, she strongly felt that she had to leave this country. New Zealand was a place without art and opportunities for a young writer. At last, she started to earn a living by working as an actress. She gave up playing the violin for the benefit of literature and took up writing. Nevertheless, she had big problems and had to overcome a lot of sufferings, especially connected with her varied diseases and also death of her younger brother. This tragedy made her come back in memory to the homeland and happy childhood which she wanted to describe. In spite of her strong desire Katherine was not able to set about writing for a long time. She tried to work but she was lacking in pertinacity and strong will. It is a repeated element in her diary; a huge wish to write and simultaneous lack of effective results.

    ‘... Once more, I ask myself an eternal question:  

     what interrupts my final moment of putting

     feelings and emotions into words?... Is it

     possible that I have no will enough to write? Oh,

     God, God! After all, it is my biggest and only

     dream, one and only happiness!...’ (Journal of Katherine Mansfield, p. 144).              


Her enthusiasm for work and writing is clear visible in other lines:

    ‘... Would I be able to express my love of work –

     my wish for better writing - my efforts to work

     more and more...’ (Journal, p.132).


The creation was the faith to her, it acted as a substitute for the company of people because she created them herself. The creation replaced a real life because it was a real life itself.

    At last, she managed to write a story where she put the memories of her childhood. ‘Prelude’ presents a part of her family life, the characters seem to be very realistic and natural. Another work ‘Bliss’ is a short story. Katherine mastered this genre to perfection. The story itself has a surprising ending. The title and the beginning  indicate something beautiful and joyful and ... elusive. Happiness, childish bliss, immense wish for life - all of that is seen in the heroine – Bertha - who feels very young and carefree despite her age - 30 years. She considers herself to be the happiest person in the world who has everything - a satisfactory house with the garden, money, modern, thrilling friends, adorable baby and ... love of her husband. Bertha gives a party whose ending appears as an unexpected tragedy. During the party, Bertha feels the great love to her husband and she is convinced that he returns the same feeling. However, her love and strong belief in a deep and sincere feeling is painfully downtrodden by her lover. At the end of the story the young betrayed woman leaves a question unanswered:


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