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Mansfield's Presentation Of The Vulnerability Of Single Women In Edwardian England In 1920 when the book 'Bliss And Other Stories' was published, it was the end of World War 1,

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Introduction

Mansfield's Presentation Of The Vulnerability Of Single Women In Edwardian England In 1920 when the book 'Bliss And Other Stories' was published, it was the end of World War 1, which for a number of reasons was a very vulnerable time for a single woman. There were many more un-married women around at this time than men, because most young men were out fighting in the war, which basically meant that there were not enough husbands to go round. The whole concept of an unmarried woman, made them very vulnerable to being miss-read by the outside world. The world for women was currently revolutionising as women no longer had to stay at home and look after the house hold, but had to go out and get jobs, which were usually men's posts, but as these single women didn't have the financial support of a husband, they had no choice but to work. Though finding work was not always as easy for women, because they could not do any physical jobs, as it was still considered in proper, and had not had the privilege of going to university. In some cases like the case of 'Miss Ada Moss' in 'Pictures' by Katherine Mansfield, women sometimes had no choice but to turn to prostitution, to allow them to pay there rent; ('if people wont' look after themselves in times like these, nobody else will'). ...read more.

Middle

you find out that both characters in the stories have no real home, no family, and no one who knows them. Overall I think that women are presented as extremely vulnerable both physically, emotionally, and financially. Physically, by as is true in 'The Little Governess', with their beauty, and as in this story she has no idea of what men are like, and is na�ve in thinking that the old man sees her as a grandfather might see his granddaughter, (as this is how she sees him), but actually it is something much more horrible, as she soon finds out when he tries to take advantage of her, like when the old man was looking at her and a 'flush licked his cheeks' and the Little Governess was totally unaware and na�ve. But as in the story 'Pictures' it turns the other way, when Miss Moss feels diminished when people look down on her because of her lack of beauty, for example when the cab driver calls out 'look out fatty'. So where women and physical beauty are concerned, it is a vicious circle. Women are also vulnerable in their lack of education, so they cannot get proper jobs and earn an adequate living like Miss Ada Moss, and sometimes turn to prostitution. ...read more.

Conclusion

She comments later on in the story that she' forgot it was Saturday' which shows that to her all the days are the same, and she has nothing to live for. But a single woman can also be a threat, as in Miss Fultum in 'Bliss' because of their sexual power. This power could actually make men vulnerable if they knew how to use it. A married man is attracted to a vulnerable single woman; he says to Miss Fultum 'I adore you' while Bertha his wife watches. He is completely in Miss Fultums' control, the control that she creates with her beauty. In this case the situation is turned entirely around and the man is the one who is vulnerable, and Miss Fultum is in control. But in the Little Governess, she does not know that she is in control, and looks at the old man as a controlling 'Grandfather figure', which gradually leads to disaster when he tries to take advantage of her. In conclusion I think that Mansfield's presentation of vulnerable single women suggests that these women are often most vulnerable when they believe themselves to be most in control, (both The Little Governess and Miss Moss are not very controlling figures, so do not take advantage of the situations that they are in) - and her use of free indirect style at these moments conveys this to us. ...read more.

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