What is the setting in detail in "Bliss"?

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The setting of "Bliss " is Bertha and Harry Young's beautiful townhouse. Bertha has come home that afternoon in anticipation of the dinner party she and Harry are throwing in the evening. During the story, she moves from the dining room to the nursery to the drawing room, where...

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The setting of "Bliss" is Bertha and Harry Young's beautiful townhouse. Bertha has come home that afternoon in anticipation of the dinner party she and Harry are throwing in the evening. During the story, she moves from the dining room to the nursery to the drawing room, where she can look down at the lovely pear tree in the garden.

The setting shows the Youngs to be a well-to-do young couple who can afford servants and a fine home. The dining room has a mirror and a carpet, and Bertha arranges fruit she has purchased in part for its beautiful effect. She piles the fruit in a glass bowl as well as a blue bowl that shimmers as if it had been dipped in milk.

In the nursery, she insists on holding her baby. The nursery contains a low table where the baby eats and has a warm fire. After spending some time with her baby, Bertha moves to the drawing room, where she lights the fire. Here, there are many sofas and chairs onto which Bertha tosses cushions. Windows overlook the garden.

Bertha feels blissful through most of the story because the surface appearance of her life is so lovely. However, she doesn't look beneath the surface until what is underneath rears up to confront her.

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The setting of this story is based in the main character's house. Bertha is clearly a well-to-do woman who enjoys an upper-middle class existence: she clearly has a big house and is able to employ both a maid and a nurse. In addition, she is able to afford new carpets and thinks about buying fruit in order to bring out the colour of that new carpet in the dining room. Note how this is described in the story:

Some yellow pears, smooth as silk, some white grapes covered with a silver bloom and a big cluster of purple ones. These last she had bought to tone in with the new dining-room carpet. Yes, that did sound rather far-fetched and absurd, but it was really why she had bought them.

Mansfield signals through this description that the reader is entering the world of wealth and plenty: Bertha is a woman who both has the time and money to think about such things as buying fruit so that it brings out the colour of the new carpet in her dining-room. The setting of this short story therefore is Bertha's large house, and the majority of the story occurs in the dining-room that has just been given the new carpet. The description of the setting is shown to correspond with Bertha's own feelings, and as she looks at various details she finds that what she sees matches the ecstasy of happiness she is experiencing. In particular, the importance of the pear tree in he garden, which she describes as "a symbol of her own life" is a very important part of the setting that is inextricably intertwined with the ending.

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