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Dominant characters appear in most of Katherine Mansfields anthology The Collected Stories, usually in a form of an anti-hero or just a nagging wife and kids.

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Introduction

The Collected Stories - Katherine Mansfield Dominant characters appear in most of Katherine Mansfield's anthology 'The Collected Stories', usually in a form of an anti-hero or just a nagging wife and kids. 'But how could she explain to Constantia that father was in the chest of drawers?' Constantia and Josephine, having been under the rule of their oppressive father for so long, have developed an irrationality which disallowed the twins to find release in his death. Mansfield uses highly descriptive language in her stories, which allows for the reader to experience the fear 'The Daughters of the late Colonel' experience when venturing into their fathers room. ''It was the coldness which made it so awful. Or the whiteness-which? Everything was covered." Effectively portraying their emotions through the narration, Mansfield uses first person narration to show us as the readers the irrationality of 'Connie' and 'Jug'. 'He was watching there, hidden away-just behind the door'. ...read more.

Middle

Similarly, Mr. Neave is constantly thinking of cynical retorts to his daughters who are trying to make him retire and 'enjoy' a life of retirement. 'Well, well! ... Where would Lola and her sisters be if he'd gone in for Hobbies? .. Hobbies wouldn't pay for the town house and the seaside bungalow...' Characters that are suffering from others suppression and dominance in Mansfield's 'Collected Stories', usually portray a secret self otherwise unseen to the rest of the characters in the story, yet clearly evident to the readers. In passage three, Mr. Neave is shown to be submissive to his 'perfect family'. It is unusual in this case because at the time period when the story was written, the man was the metaphorical 'head of the house'. 'Why will you be so unreasonable father? There's absolutely no need for you to go to the office. It only makes it very awkward for us when people persist in saying how tired you're looking.' ...read more.

Conclusion

Mansfield is unique in her ability to convey both the fabricated external image projected by her character along with their inner interpretation of themselves and their situations. A large proportion of Mansfield's works are those that revolve around that of the upper class. She expresses the notion that those who obtain great wealth do not necessarily hold a perfect life. This is demonstrated in the second passage as Mr Neave in 'An Ideal Family', appears to be emotionally detached from his family to the extent that he is frustrated with the thought that 'his life's work was disappearing through Harold's (Mr Neave's son) fine fingers'. This contrasts with The Boss in Mansfield's piece 'The Fly', as after his son's death, invisions no purpose in his business if it cannot be inherited. Again, The Boss's son and lack of purporse demonstrate Mansfield's portrayal of the wealthy as being less than perfect. Dominance in 'The Collected Stories' is shown through many of the characters, and through this dominance comes other themes such as the secret self. Mansfield also expands on her views on feminism as she reverses the roles of the sexes. ...read more.

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