The Fly Katherine Mansfield Analysis

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In “Victims and Victimizers in the Fiction of Katherine Mansfield and Jean Rhys”, Jane Nardin argues that Katherine Mansfield fails to follow the modernist style of writing, which approaches issues from a neutral standpoint, when it comes to victim-ization, due to her inability to portray victims and victimizers neutrally. In order to achieve this equality, the faults of the victim and weaknesses of the victimizer must be observable in a text. However Nardin states that Mansfield did attempt to make her victimizers relatable in some stories. An example of such a story would be “The Fly”. In this short story, Katherine Mansfield describes a morning in the life of a man only referred to as the “the boss” who lost his son in World War 1. The story is struc-tured into 3 parts, narrating the visit of his friend Mr. Woodifield, the boss’s grieving over his son and his interaction with a fly he kills, by repetedly dropping blots of ink on it. The main character in this story is a victimizer, however Mansfield attempts to explore his weaknesses. The boss, even though he is in a position of power, exhibits vulnerability during his interaction with Mr. Woodifiel,while alone and during his…show more content…
Woodifield in order to overcome his self-doubt. He feels a “deep, solid satisfaction” (Mansfield 1), when comparing Mr. Woodifield’s health, to his and feels similarly about his wealth and lifestyle. While this illustrates his arrogance, it also implies that he uses Mr. Woodifield as a contrast figure in order to overcome the doubts he has about his own life, already hinting at his insecurity that will be explored in the second part of the story. Also, even though he views him-self as superior to Mr. Woodifield, he also is afraid of showing his grief to him and therefore seeming weak, as evidenced when he urges Mr. Woodifield to leave after his friend began talking about his wife’s and daughter’s visit to the graves of both his own and the boss’s
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