Student Question

What is the genre of "The Fly" by Katherine Mansfield?

Expert Answers

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Certainly, short stories can be categorized into different genres. For example, a story like Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" could be considered Gothic, mystery, and horror. There are primary or major genres such as tragedy, epic, comedy, fiction, and nonfiction. But there are many more sub-genres: science fiction, romance, historical, etc. The short story is generally considered to be a "form" of literature as well as a genre

This story, "The Fly," falls under the broad category of genre fiction. It is also a Realist text (or Realistic fiction) because it presents events in an objective way. Mansfield uses a third person narrator to add to this sense of providing an objective view of things. We get subtle intuitions about what the boss is feeling but most of the information comes from external descriptions of what the boss does and the expressions he has. 

So, this story is under the broad genre of fiction and is characteristic of more specialized subgenres: Realism, Realistic fiction, and the Short Story (also known as a form of literature). 

A genre is characterized by similarity in form, content, and style. This expands to a quite broad definition and that's why there are large genre categories with many more subcategories. So, any short story, novel, play, or poem is usually bound to fall into multiple subcategories (subgenres). 

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