• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is the story "Daughters of the late Colonel" more comic than tragic for the reader overall? Be sure to comment on Mansfield's use of language.

Extracts from this document...


Is the story "Daughters of the late Colonel" more comic than tragic for the reader overall? Be sure to comment on Mansfield's use of language. The story "Daughters of the late Colonel", written by Katherine Mansfield takes place during Victorian times, based around two sister's whose father had recently died. Mansfield describes the struggles of these two women as they try to express their femininity and overcome the barriers of etiquette and the presence of their father, whom they feared. The story ends as the sisters Josephine and Constantia attempt to break free of their suppressed world but fail to, thus ending the story in tragedy. Despite this the path leading to the tragic ending is riddled in humorous moments. Therefore it might be said about the story that it is more comic than tragic for the reader. Mansfield often uses humor as a technique to reveal the darker, suppressed side of the two sisters and she often does it subtly. A casual reader might never discover this area of the story. ...read more.


She had that maddening habit of asking for just an inch more bread to finish what she had on her plate, and then, at the last mouthful, absent-mindedly- of course it wasn't absent-mindedly- taking another helping" This entire section is written in Josephine's voice, and thus allows the reader to view her opinion on Nurse Andrews. "fearful" is not very commonly used for such situations, and sounds amusing to the reader. This is also seen through the repetition of "absent-mindedly" as well as the use of dashes which allows the reader to visualize Josephine snapping at the gesture. However, even though she is pictured like this Josephine is unable to stop Nurse Andrews in real life. She merely "got very red when this happened, and she fastened her small, bead-like eyes on the table cloth". This again highlights the dismal state the women are in- though they are the masters of the house, a common nurse is able to dominate them, while the sisters are too weak to do anything against her. ...read more.


It is the final section which truly shows how tragic the situation surrounding the sisters is. It is here when the women have the opportunity to break free from the suppression of their femininity and etiquette imposed upon them by their father, yet they fail. "Josephine was silent for a moment. She stared at a big cloud where the sun had been. Then she replied shortly, "I've forgotten too."" During the final section, the sun represents their chance for freedom. "Golden rays" symbolized the richness and exiting new life which they could have taken. Yet, the whole new path the sisters might have taken was blocked out, symbolizing the cloud. It is thus that the story ends in tragedy- the sisters fail to break free, and remain stuck inside their self-imposed world. Their late father's influence is too great for them to overcome. In conclusion, it may be said that the story is both a comedy and a tragedy. However, because Mansfield cleverly disguises the tragedy to blend into hilarious moments the reader gets an overall sense of comic fun. Therefore, Daughters of the Late Colonel is more of a comedy than a tragedy ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Alice Walker section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Alice Walker essays

  1. The story of Sredni Vasthar is one of oppression and conflict. Set in the ...

    'With her short-sighted eyes she peered at Conradin' this implies that she is trying to entice him into a reaction, which she will simply 'rebuke with a flow of excellent precepts and reasoning'. When she first notices Conradin's interest in the tool shed, her immediate response is to put an

  2. The ending of The Yellow Wallpaper. Breakdown or Breakthrough

    When the wallpaper's 'sub patterns' start to get in focus for the narrator - 'it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern', she begins to reveal the disturbing truth that she is trapped within the suffocating domestic pattern and unable to escape as she is drawn further into fantasy.

  1. Flamineo in the prominent revenge tragedy John Webster play, The White Devil.

    if the buttery-hatch at court stood continually open there would nothing so passionate crowding, nor hot suit after the beverage'' meaning if the buttery hatch was always open and was continually serving food, everyone would be food, and according to Flamineo the same principle implies with women.

  2. The £1,000,000 Bank Note by Mark Twain - summary

    There is also a little confusion here it states that there are 5 million pound notes in the envolpe but at the start of the book it states that therewere only two ever made and that one of them was destroyed.

  1. Italo Calvino's use of a suit of armor in "The Non-Existent Knight" to satirize ...

    Torrismund emphasizes this statement by asserting that 'paladin's shields with armorial bearings and mottoes are not made of iron; they're just paper'.3 Knights, therefore, are heavily dependent on their suit of armor for their popularity and honor, rather than their appearance underneath the armor.

  2. Free essay

    Select a Specific Incident in The Aspern Papers that you believe to be a ...

    This scene is a very dominant in what happens there forth. It describes how the narrator goes into the personal area (the room) of Miss Juliana Bordereau when she and Miss Tina are asleep. He jumps to the conclusion that Miss Tina had deliberately left open the door between the

  1. Henry James referred to TTOTS as a potboiler. In light of this comment, explore ...

    The main character in the prologue, Douglas, tells the unnamed narrator and the rest of the group of a ghost story much worse than any that have been told. ?If the child gives the effect of another turn of the screw, what do you say to two children - ??

  2. When Im bad, I am bad In the light of this comment, discuss ...

    This perception of Miles stays the same even until the end when his ?little heart, dispossessed had stopped?. Since there has been many sides to Miles in the novella, the end sentence conveys how innocent he really he is. He is only a little boy and that?s what the reader needs to remember.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work