Describe the office of the boss in "The Fly."

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From the description that we get in the story, the most salient descriptors of the office of the boss are "snug" and "comfortable." The place is warm, elegant, and furnished anew. For two sad men who suffer from intense grief, this place is surely a most-welcome refuge.  

We first learn that there is a big, green leather chair by the desk of the boss, from which Woodifield admires the place. The office had been recently remodeled, and its new furniture includes a huge bookcase, and a table with legs described “like twisted treacle,” a black, shiny, sticky sweetener, often called molasses.

The floor of the office is covered by a bright, red carpet that had “a pattern of large, white rings.”  The office also has electric heating, which accounts for the feelings of comfort and “snugness” that the two men describe at the beginning. The heating lamp consists of five bulbs, described as “pearly, glowing sausages,” which glow from a copper pan.

Below the desk of the boss there is a cupboard where he keeps his whiskey, which, allegedly, came “from the cellars at Windsor Castle.”

The chair on which the boss sat when he was at his desk was a “spring chair.” On the desk, there is an inkpot, blotting paper, and a pen. Down beside it is a wastebasket. This is the setting where the fight with the fly takes place.

Also salient is the picture of the son of the boss, his only son, which had been featured on top of one of the tables for over six years. The young man in the picture looked “stern” and nothing like he was in real life. He had been dead for the length of time that the picture had been on that table. He was the boss’s only son, and he had been groomed to take over the family business.

The young man was killed while serving in the War, just like the son of Woodifield. In fact, the boss’s son and Woodifield’s son are buried in the same cemetery. The boss had been “dead in life” since his son’s death, and was left extremely grieved. He and Woodifield are both still grieving. Grief is the pervasive atmosphere of the story.

It is safe to conclude that the men somewhat come to terms with their own personal pain during their time together in the office.