Katherine Mansfield stories “Prelude” and “At the Bay” Analysis

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Two of Katherine Mansfield’s most celebrated narratives are “Prelude” and “At the Bay” . both of them portraying a New Zealand household. Both narratives. are go arounding around the female characters. but the one nexus that connects all of them is Stanley Burnell. member and supplier of the household.

The New Zealand critic Carl Stead affirms that Stanley Burnell is a ‘benevolent despot’ significance that he is a sort individual. and a autocrat in the same clip. I agree with Stead avowal. but as it seems slightly uncomplete. I would desire to add a few words to it: Stanley character is benevolent but unconsciously tyrant.

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Stanley is dynamic and doesn’t like to trust on other people ; he is eager to set down roots and settle down. He has no familial wealth or particular instruction ; merely his ain mind on which to trust. He is non merely responsible for Linda and his kids. but he has assumed duty for her female parent and single sister. Beryl. He works difficult and makes forfeits to back up his household. For illustration. when they are all on vacation in “At the Bay” . Stanley catches the coach in to work. To hold such a busy life. Stanley demands changeless support from everyone else into covering his insecurities. He is non merely looking for support. but he besides expects for other people to seek and accomplish something on their ain as he does.

Because Beryl lacks money. Stanley expects her to seek and work difficult: ‘By Jove. if she can’t do a hand’s bend on occasion without shouting about it in return for…’ . Stanley does non complete his sentence. being non certainly precisely what it is Beryl owes him. This shows that it became a modus operandi for him to financially take attention of everybody in the household. and that he does non anticipate a material wages. even though he wants to see people seek. In ‘At the Bay’ there is a minute when all the adult females seem to bask Stanley’s going: ‘Oh. the alleviation. the difference it made to hold the adult male out of the house. Their very voices were changed as they called to one another ; they sounded warm and loving as if they shared a secret’ . But Katherine Mansfield uses this transition to foreground how much they all depend on him.

Anyone in Mansfield’s fiction who uses slang or abbreviated sentences. such as Stanley is suspect of holding contention in the character. Normally. in Stanley’s duologues. Katherine Mansfield uses short sentences as seeking to turn out that he speaks fast. Stanley besides seems to utilize slang and to curse in forepart of the childs: ‘”What the hell… Damnation take it”‘ . All this demonstrate that he is a voluble and an action work forces. as he does non hold clip to repair his linguistic communication.

There is a tenseness in Stanley’s life: he is controlled by the demand of ever to be on clip ; he can seldom loosen up. In “At the Bay” . even traveling for an early forenoon swim. he flung. cleared. rushed staggered. raced. swooped. in order to be foremost in. and one time in. he can non halt to bask it: “I have no tie to gull about” .

This is a good illustration of life genuineness ( a diversion of life ) that Mansfield achieves. The scene happens in early forenoon. to foreground that Stanley was used to acquiring up early. Mansfield uses a really elusive mixture of preciseness and action. to portray precisely his enthusiasm. She has run every measure behind him and she slows down the gesture by utilizing the word ‘staggered’ – ‘staggered up the sandy hillock’ . Mansfield intends to decelerate down Stanley’s race non because he was tired. but because his pess were droping into the sand. This race might stand for the symbol of his life. Stanley’s life is a race in which he wants to be the best. But merely as his pess sink in the sand. in existent life he meets obstructions and becomes insecure. necessitating the household support to give him the strength to maintain traveling. ‘racing for beloved life’ .

In the transition the ambiance seems to be filled with exhilaration. even joy. which shows that Stanley is happy with his complicated life. Mansfield uses tonss of words like “exulting” . “swoops” and “souse” to convey his ideas and feelings. He wades out ‘exulting’ . He ‘swoops’ to ‘souse’ his caput and cervix. delighted with himself for being first in the H2O once more. Then he hears Jonathan Trout’s voice and he realizes that he is non first after all and little detonations happening inside his caput. ‘”Great Scott! Damnation take it! Why the devils didn’t the fellow stick to his portion of the sea? ”‘ To get away from Jonathan conversation. which he thinks of as ‘piffle’ and ‘rot’ . he turns over on his dorsum and boots with his legs till he is ‘a populating water-spout’ .

Stanley seems pathetic as we witness his assurance. delectations and letdowns because he is moving like a kid and is difficult to understand that he is the same individual that is really successful in concern.

This is why I added the word unconsciously to Carl Stead avowal that Stanley is a benevolent tyrant. He pushes people to work difficult and be like him. but he does non recognize that this might be harder for some people than he thinks. If he would cognize that he is aching his household. particularly Linda. he would halt strong-arming them. He loves Linda excessively much and would ne’er desire to ache her. He thinks he will penalize her by traveling off in the forenoon without stating adieu. but he regrets he did that and he suffers all twenty-four hours “I’ve been in tortures” . He arrives place ready to apologize for something that was unnoticed.

Linda attentions about him excessively but she keeps him off from acquiring to shut by misinterpreting his actions on intent. When he arrives place with ‘all the crop of the earth’ . expensive gifts for her – oysters. a Ananas comosus. and cherries – she refers to them as ‘these cockamamie things’ ; she drapes a bunch of cherries over his ear. cognizing full good that he hates to look foolish. She acts this manner because Stanley is the antithesis with her. He has all the energy she lacks. He becomes more successful at concern. more comfortable. and more secure in the place while she loses strength. His speedy motions and rapid address exhaust her.

When he worries bout running to flesh out. Linda answers “You are far excessively energetic” and he interprets her reply as a reassurance. when it can besides intend that he is to energetic for her. as when she wants to shout at him “You are killing me” . He seems to rule her. like when she does non defy his sexual Acts of the Apostless.

Linda admires Stanley’s best qualities: his goodness. his dependability. and his honestness. She compares Stanley with Jonathan Trout. whom she finds attractive and whom she has much in common. Stanley doesn’t like a individual like Trout. a individual of dreams and impractical thoughts. because he. Stanley is a adult male of action. Linda besides cares about Stanley because she is cognizant of the fact that he is supplying the money for the household. and admires his devotedness.

Katherine Mansfield. at first sight. seems to do Stanley Burnell look as if he is a autocrat. a tyrant. because he is forcing everybody to work hard. but he is really a positive character. because he has the self-respect and the morality to cover with his life and take the duty of looking after his household.

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