• Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 726 words

The short story The Voyage written by Katherine Mansfield is about a young girl named Fenella Crane who travels to Picton with her grandmother on the night ferry from Wellington.

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Introduction

The short story The Voyage written by Katherine Mansfield is about a young girl named Fenella Crane who travels to Picton with her grandmother on the night ferry from Wellington. Katherine uses many language techniques such as symbolism, contrast and point of view to help the readers understand the idea of adapting to change, and the idea of coping with the death of a loved one. The Voyage is written in third person narrative from the limited perspective of Fenella Crane to help the readers understand what she is going through on the voyage. We are never told just exactly how old Fenella is, but we assume that she is a very young child, perhaps only about five years old. We know that she "had now and again to give an undignified little skip to keep up" with her father and grandmother.

Middle

For example, "the old wharf is dark, very dark". "There was nothing to be seen, except a few lights... on dark hills" reflects Fenella's apprehension about her journey. Fenella wasn't told about her mother's death, so the unknown makes Fenella feel scared. When we don't have knowledge, we are helpless. As Fenella hears about her grandmother talking about her mother's death in the cabin, we can assume for the first time that the importance of this is because it lessens her anxiety. This also helps affirm her mother's life and it keeps her "alive" in a way. We know this because it soothes Fenella to sleep. When we are armed with knowledge, we are more powerful to deal with tragic situations. This shows us that knowledge soothes our fears too.

Conclusion

From this, we understand that she has changed from the girl who perceived everything as "huge" and "dark" to a girl that now perceives everything as "little" and "white". The colour white connotes that she can see "the light at the end of the tunnel" and that she has grown up to move onto the next part of her life. From this we understand that we can't spend all our time grieving for our beloved, we have to move onto the next phase of our lives, just like Fenella did. Katherine Mansfield has cleverly used these literary techniques to convey the idea that at some point of our lives, we all have to adapt to change, especially to cope with the death of a loved one just like Fenella. The death of her mother has sped up Fenella's process of growing up, and this has allowed the readers to understand what Mansfield is trying to convey to us.

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