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Describe the significance of Leila's feelings as she enters the ball.

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minilil | Student | eNoter

Posted October 13, 2012 at 7:51 AM via web

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Describe the significance of Leila's feelings as she enters the ball.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 13, 2012 at 1:15 PM (Answer #1)

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For Leila, her entrance into the ball are significant because they represent a girl's first foray into the conditioned world of what it means to be a woman.  Leila is possessed by a sense of excitement at the world of possibility that awaits her.  She is held by the sway of what can be for her first ball's feelings represent the journey of maturation and no longer being considered a child.  She is taken back by the superficial elements of this rite of passage, as well.  The setting, the clothes, the dancing, and the appearances to others are all elements that comprise her initial feelings of excitement.  Adding to this is the reality that her own experience of living in the rural setting in contrast to the ball's urbane condition are part of Leila's initial feelings.  When she remarks that seeing the people dance is akin to seeing the "little satin shoes" chasing "each other like birds," it represents how Leila feels about this experience, in terms of her feelings of amazement and of being overwhelmed with the moment.  This is significant it that it enables Mansfield to construct a setting in to which one can see how girls can become entranced with the social condition that locks them into gender- specific roles.  If Lelia is not so taken in with what she sees initially, it makes it easier for her to be able to reject these elements.  Yet, in such an initial reaction, Mansfield is making it clear that part of what proves to be so alluring and enticing to young girls is also what ensnares them into a social condition through which one becomes trapped, to an extent, into what society wishes one to be.

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