What are the themes for the story "Bliss" by Katherine Mansfield? Do they include marriage and adultery?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Katherine Mansfield is known for her short stories, and "Bliss," written in 1918, is an excellent example of her style and themes. There is not one clear main theme; rather, it hints at some, explores others in more depth, and leaves some questions unanswered (as seen specifically in the penultimate line, “Oh, what is going to happen now?”).

Marriage and adultery are certainly key topics in this work. Through a series of moments and interactions we learn about Bertha’s marriage to her husband, Harry. We also get some insight into the marriage of “The Norman Knights,” one of the couples at the dinner party Bertha and Harry are hosting, the main event of the story’s plot. We learn that Bertha has never really felt attracted to her husband, but she still wants to find ways to connect with him, as seen in her telephone call when she wants to say something but doesn’t really know what or how: “What had she to say? She’d nothing to say. She only wanted to get in touch with...

(The entire section contains 766 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team