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Katherine Mansfield.How does the loss of Mansfields brother result in her becoming...

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charlottejensen | eNoter

Posted August 3, 2011 at 6:42 PM via web

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Katherine Mansfield.

How does the loss of Mansfields brother result in her becoming insecure and vulnerable, therefore causing her to express this through the female characters in the stories "Her First Ball", "The Little Governess" and finally, "Miss Brill"? thanks.

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K.P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted August 6, 2011 at 4:15 PM (Answer #2)

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Mansfield's brother died sometime in 1918; his death was followed by her mother's death. Mansfield was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1918 as well. She was in a transition phase as her own illness caused her to be unsettled with feelings of alienation and a sense of a loss of belonging. "Miss Brill" and "Her First Ball" were written in 1920 and 1921 respectively. It was between the years of 1918 and 1921 that Mansfield began to reassess her childhood memories and her understanding of--or misunderstanding of--her parents. It is difficult to say that her brother's death resulted "in her becoming insecure and vulnerable" as she was contending with failed health, her own impending death, and a revolutionizing re-evaluation of what her parent's lives were and of what the meaning of events from her childhood really was.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 9, 2011 at 10:29 PM (Answer #2)

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The loss of Mansfield's brother in World War I was a seismic event in Mansfield's life, that definitely shook her up and made her struggle with her grief for many years after. Also, in response to this, Mansfield decided to dedicate herself to writing literature about New Zealand, which was the place of both her and her brother's upbringing and childhood, to try and capture the elements of life there. Thus we can certainly make a link between this event and Mansfield's fiction, though it is not clear if the death of her brother and Mansfield's depiction of women can be necessarily linked together.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 4, 2012 at 2:55 AM (Answer #4)

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In the story "Her First Ball" the young girl starts out nervous about the ball, a metaphor for life. When gets caught up in the magic, and then disillusioned when the older man paints a sad future for her. I think that's the grief and reassessment after her brother's death. Yet the story ends on a hopeful note as another young man appears and the magic is back.

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