How is the fiction of Katherine Mansfield reflected in her life?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Very interesting question. Well, of course to a certain extent every author's work is dependent to a large extent on their life. Katherine Mansfield was born in New Zealand, but throughout her childhood she was always slightly resentful of being so far away from England, the source of British culture. She was able to go to London to study in Queen's College, but she grieved incessantly when she had to return to New Zealand. It was only after her brother's death in the first World War that Katherine Mansfield seemed to come to terms with New Zealand as her home, and once she had recovered from her grief, she vowed to write about New Zealand as a:

...sacred debt... because my brother and I were born there... a debt of love... I shall tell everything, even of how the laundry basket squeaked.

This determination to "tell everything" can be seen in her work that focuses more on illuminating moments of significance rather than a traditional focus on plot and action. In her stories we are confronted with a series of characters and their growth, development or reaction to events that show them for who they are.