Analysis of The Voyage by Katherine Mansfield
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Analysis of "The Voyage" by Katherine Mansfield This analysis is about a short story called "The Voyage" which is written by Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923). The writer was born in Wellington, New Zealand then she got part of her education at Queen's College, London, and returned to live there from 1908. This short story from 1922 is one of her late stories and was posthumously published in the collection The Garden Party in 1923. Reading her writings you can often recognize that the main dramatic event is completely suggested and it is replaced by a less remarkable occurence. "The Voyage" is one of the best examples of this writing method. The theme is that Fenella's mother died, and his father does not take it upon himself to bring up the child alone, so he leaves the little girl with grandparents who live in another island. But it is not explained in the story; we have to fit together the pieces of information from short dialogues like in a jigsaw puzzle. So at the heart of the matter is the mourning, the loss of mother which is not written in the short story, but you can make it out in an indirect way.
Was it going to change?". The answer is yes. The boat docks and they get on the cart: "the hooves of the little horse drummed over the wooden piles, then sank softly into the sandy road". The transition finishes and the new life starts: arriving at her grandparents home Fenella looks at "Grandma's delicate white picotees", which refer to a shiny and cheerful life. Entering the house she mets a white cat and buries her "cold little hand in the white, warm white fur", and smiles "timidly", and Grandpa is still warmly in bed, with only "his head with a white tuft" showing. Symbolically, these images may signify that a difficult period in Fenella's life is now behind her, now she has arrived in a new, stable home. It is evident that the main character in the short story is the little girl, Fenella. She is about 6-8 years old, and the reader can follow during the story what she sees, hears, or thinks. The story is narrated in the third person singular by a narrator who is not a character but through the eyes of Fenella. As she is so young nobody tells her what is going on, but she feels that something unpleasant will happen.
That is a funny event when Grandma insists on taking the upper berth, surely to save the little girl from falling down. But you also know that she does not usually give herself a cabin so she does not know how to get up there. The old lady also is the person who helps you to clear up the mistery: who has died. In her first speach with the stewardess you only know that Fenella and Mrs Craine wears mourning because 'it was God's will'. The short story takes nine pages in our book and the writer brings it to light only on the seventh page that Fenella's mother is the dead by this sentence: 'poor little motherless mite'. This kind of mistery dominates the short story. At the beginning of the narration there is nothing you could know about the three people: you do not know why they say goodbye or where they go to or what happened in the past. But according to little scraps of conversations, looking at the characters' faces, following the descriptions of Fenella, 'meditating' on the words she uses and impressions she has, the 'white mist' rises a bit. It is wondering that Katherine Mansfields was able to write about ordinary events filled with unspoken dramas without writing down feelings or the main message.
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