What is the setting in detail in "Bliss"?

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

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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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