Katherine Mansfield Questions and Answers

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How does Katherine Mansfield use symbols and imagery to depict Miss Meadows's emotional state throughout the story "The Singing Lesson"?

Mansfield uses symbols and imagery to depict Miss Meadows's emotions, contrasting dreary winter cold with colorful autumn excitement and summer warmth. She contrasts flowers versus fading leaves, cold and rain versus sunshine to depict moods. The rose Basil wears and Mary's chrysanthemum symbolize hope. Her rejection and acceptance of the chrysanthemum parallel her mood shift. The song notes the roses of pleasure fade “too fast" but after the telegram, she emphasizes positive flower imagery in the song.

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Katherine Mansfield use symbols and imagery to depict Miss Meadows's changing mood, contrasting the approaching dreary cold of winter with the colorful excitement of autumn and flowery warmth of summer. She uses flowers versus fading leaves and cold and rain versus sunshine to depict how Miss Meadows feels. Fading or dying flowers and leaves depict despair, in contrast to the rose in Basil's lapel, the chrysanthemum Mary gives her and "flowers o'erladen" in the song that all symbolize love and hope.

The rejection and acceptance of the chrysanthemum parallel Miss Meadows’s mood. Mary hands her “a beautiful yellow chrysanthemum,” the imagery recalls summer and optimism, but Miss Meadows rejects it. Miss Meadows is in despair over her lost love, so she “totally ignored the chrysanthemum.”

Miss Meadows recalls her last meeting with her fiancé, Basil. His name and the rose he wears in his buttonhole symbolize the fragility of their love. Both the herb basil and the rose can wither if...

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