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Her First Ball by Katherine Mansfield

Autor:   •  May 14, 2019  •  Essay  •  781 Words (4 Pages)  •  109 Views

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Her first ball

Katherine Mansfield

“Her First Ball” is written by Katherine Mansfield and was published in November 28, 1921

The story is narrated in third person. The first thing we get to know in the beginning of the story is that Leila is sitting in the cab with the Sheridans siblings, Laura, Meh, Laurine and Jose. The siblings are from “The Garden Party”. Jose and Meg play a significant role in the story, as they try to find dance partners to Leila. They are on their way to Leila’s first ball. She has never been to a ball before. It’s noticeable how inexperienced she is when they arrive to the ball and Laura tells Leila "hold on to me, Leila; you'll get lost"

In the story we have the theme of youth, love, experience and gender roles.

Katherine Mansfield appears to use gender roles in the story. At that time, it would have been strange of a lady to ask a man for a dance, therefore Leila waits for a partner to ask her. Through the story Leila is being told from a fat old man how life will be as she grows older. He tells her that her ‘pretty arms will have turned into little fat ones’ that tells us about how controlling the men’s words are for women, and the image of a female will be “uglier” as she grows older. She will no longer have the beauty men prefer. The words of the fat man’s get into Leila’s head and changes the way she sees everything at the ball. He ruined her first ball. She begins to question her experience and drowns her self-doubt after her awful partner reveals the truth behind the ball’s illusion. It is surprising that she keeps dancing with the older fat man after the things he said to her. That demonstrate the reliance women had for men at the time.

There is some symbolism in the story. In the story, Mansfield is using bright colors to describe the symbolism of youth. Example: Laura’s white fur and pink velvet coat, Laurie’s tissue paper (its white), the white globes worn by the girls at the ball, Leila’s pink satin feet’. The bright colors Mansfield is using is warm colors, and that describes how the girls feel at the ball and how it was in the location.


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