A Sample Essay on the Biography of Katherine Mansfield

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A Sample Essay on the Biography of Katherine Mansfield

A Sample Essay on the Biography of Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield is a short story/fiction writer. She was born on October 14, 1888, in New Zealand. Her birth name is Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp. Her personal friends and family called her Kass, Katherina, Katie, Catherine, Katharina, Katherina, Kissineka, or K.X. Her father, Harold Beauchamp, is a New Zealand banker. Her mother, Annie Beauchamp, is the first woman to vote. She has a brother, Leslie Heron Beauchamp, who was in the military. She has 5 sisters who are Jeanne Beauchamp, Charlotte Beauchamp, Vera Beauchamp, Gwendoline Beauchamp, and Jeanne Worthington Renshaw. She attended Queen’s College from 1903 to 1906. While attending Queen’s College, she learned to play the cello and became an excellent player.

Katherine persuaded a career in becoming a writer and wrote many short stories and fiction. She enjoyed it a lot. She published her first volume in 1911. “She later destroyed most of her diaries and journal from 1906 to 1912, leaving Murry’ no doubt that the once ardent disciple of the doctrine of living dangerously came eventually to regard much of her eagerly sought experience … as waste–destruction too'” (Gindin). Katherine published her second volume in December 1920. She was able to publish three more volumes before her death.

Diagnosed with tuberculosis in December of 1917, Mansfield still wrote her stories and never gave up her dream. She was able to write her fourth volume, but it was never published because she died before completing it. Mansfield died on January 9, 1923, in Fontainebleau, France.  When she heard that Mansfield had died, [Virginia] Woolf wrote in her diary: ‘I was jealous of her writing–the only writing I have ever been jealous of'” (Gingin). Woolf was jealous of Mansfield’s writing because when Mansfield sites her short stories, she writes with passion and desire. She uses characteristics of the modern and romantic period in her short stories.

One modern characteristic is modernism, which she uses in “Bliss.” She also uses nature to show the growth of her characters. She uses her exploration of femininity and work class to show how women had suffered or dominated the world in those days. In her stories, she also talks about the Great War and how it impacts her. Because of her use of imagery, her exploration of femininity, and her concern with the working class, Katherine Mansfield is an excellent example of a modern writer, as illustrated through her short Stories “A Dill Pickle, and “Bliss.”

Modernism is a philosophical movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Katherine uses modernism to write her short stories. She talks about her life and the life of others. She also uses it to show what life is and how people’s lives are affected. For example her life, she went through two marriages and had a miscarriage. She also talks about how she lost her brother in her short story “Bliss.” She also writes about her life when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Her life was affected by the fact that she lost her brother and was diagnosed, but that did not stop her from writing and publishing her short stories. This showed her passion for writing short stories.

In most of Mansfield’s short stories, she brings up a garden of some sort. In many of her writings, the garden referred to the place where most of her female characters grew from their usual roles as females. She uses the growth to slow the growth of her stories and society back in the day. Females back then had to take care of their families and house.  As Katherine wrote her short stories, the female society started to stand up for themselves and proved to the world who they were. Katherine wanted to show how much society had changed.

Katherine used her exploration of femininity to show how much women have suffered and how much they are starting to show their true colors. Women were slowly able to work, and in “Bliss,” the main character was in charge of making a party. It shows how much women are starting to get involved in society and nature. Women back then had a hard life and how we are treated poorly. Nowadays, women are treated poorly, but at least they can work and go to school. Femininity back then was not fair in so many ways that they are hard to describe. Katherine had married three times, and of the two, she had a divorce. She expresses this in most of her stories.

In Mansfield’s stories, the working-class system is brought up. Mansfield talks about how the system of the working class is affecting lives. Mansfield show in her stories how her characters are growing in the working class. The women went from not being able to work to be able to work. There were two times when the writers attempted to write about the working class, but it did not work. Those periods are the 1840s and 1850s. Twelve of Katherine’s stories include the working class. Some of those stories only talk about the violence against the working class. Most of her stories talk about the escape from reality. Mansfield is interested in the working class but is unable to represent it.

In the Great War, Mansfield accidentally lost her brother in an accidental grenade explosion. She was still shocked after hearing the news. A lot of Katherine went, and of all of the friends who went, none returned alive. “The Great War impacted the gender system. Katherine and other writers wondered how and if the Great War prompted the construction of femininity and masculinity” (Darrohn). The moods of her writing would range from stoic acceptance to profound depression. Her new dedication to writing about the New Zealand of her girlhood is a way to resurrect her brother. “Mansfield is puzzling over the invasive mobility of this death. Mansfield’s words after learning about her brother’s death: ‘I do not believe it; he was not the kind to die'” (Onan).  The Great War had the most fearsome technology. Although war is a crucial context for this figure, it is profoundly buried. The Great War was a good but bad thing for Katherine; she learned from it and made multiple stories about it. The Great War impacted Mansfield and her writing.

“When I think of Mansfield’s stories, what comes to me first are the images of the things actual or virtual in the stories world” (Perkins ). Emotions in Mansfield’s writing are essential because if they were not, they would not make sense. Every writer has their scales and palettes. “A Dill Pickle” uses the memory of the characters’ childhood to spike the characters’ emotions (Diamond). Emotion is the thing you feel towards things. Katherine likes to show her emotion towards society and how it is changing. In “Bliss,” the characters show depression and sadness over the death of the men from war. Emotions can affect the whole story or even part of the story.  Although Katherine is an excellent writer, her emotion is the key to her stories. Katherine’s writing has impactful means that we all will need to understand and appreciate.

As illustrated through her short Stories “A Dill Pickle, ” “Bliss,” her use of imagery, her exploration of femininity, and her concern with the working class, Katherine Mansfield is an excellent example of a modern writer. She uses characteristics of the modern and romantic period in her short stories. One modern characteristic is modernism, which she uses in “Bliss.” She also uses nature to show the growth of her characters. She uses her exploration of femininity and work class to show how women had suffered or dominated the world in those days. In her stories, she also talks about the Great War and how it impacted her.

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