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Dissertation Presented To The Faculty Of Irts

University of Hong Kong

In Partial Fulfilment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Arts (English Linguistic Studies)

Poon Yuk-IaBf , laita

August, 1989

This dissertation aims at analysing the narrative discourse

of Katherine Mansfieldls THe Garden Party and Other Short
Stories. Since a discourse involves the participation of both
the speaker and the addressee, and language serves as the
mediator of their interaction, the approach of this dissertation is
a linguistic one* It attempts to answer the six questions, each
raised in a separate section, which centre round two major areas:
Mansfield's narrative techniques and analyses of some aspects of
the narrative discourse* The six questions are: (1) What kind of
narrator does Mansfield choose? (2) What perspective does
Mansfield adopt? (3) What is the structure of the narrative?
(4) What is the nature of the narrative? (5) What is the
relationship between the speaker and the addressee? (6) What are
the attitude and world view of the implied author as shown in the


SECTION 1 Introduction 1-3

SECTIOI II Mansfieldfs narrative techniques: What
Mad of narrator does Mansfield choose? 4-12
SECTIOi III Mansfield's narrative techniques: What
perspective does Mansfield adopt? 13-31
SECTION If Analyses of some aspects of the narrative
discourse: What is the structure of the
narrative? 32-40
SECTIOI ¥ Analyses of some aspects of the narrative
discourse: What is the nature of the
narrative 41-48
SECTIOI YI Analyses of some aspects of the narrative
discourse: What is the relationship
between the speaker and the addressee? 49-61

SECTIOI VII Analyses of some aspects of the narrative

discourse: What are the attitude and world
view of the implied author as shown in the
discourse? 62-68

SECTIOI ¥111 Conclusion 69-70



Very few critical works have so far been published on

Katherine Mansfield, a New Zealand writer who died prematurely at
the age of thirty-four in 1923 and who had published only three
collections of short stories before her death. Four collections
another volume of stories, a selection of poems and her
Journal and Letters were published posthumously. The very
fact that Mansfield has been neglected does not mean that she is
a lesser writer. On the contrary, despite her tiny scope, 'the
three volumes of short stories which appeared in her brief
lifetime persuade one to believe that she had already found
herself as a writer of rare individual gifts' ( Mansfield, 1922:
7 }* She has a discerning eye for the subtleties and trifles of
life and her language is poetic, full of figures of speech like
metaphors, similes, personifications, onomatopoeia, etc* What is
more, the narrative techniques manifested in her stories are

In this paper I am going to analyse the discourse created in

Katherine Mansfield's The Garden Party and Other Short Stories,
and I would like to focus my attention on the narrative discourse
of the book. As for the approach, I will not follow the one of
traditional literary criticism. Instead, I am trying to look at
that part of the language through which discourse is produced
with a view to analysing the significance of certain aspects of
the narrative discourse of Katherine Mansfield's work. As I have
mentioned in the previous paragraph, there is very little
literary criticism on Mansfield's works, let alone any on the
narrative discourse of her works. So this paper is aeant to be a
practical work, which draws on my observations of Mansfield's
works and my knowledge of the discourse theory.

First and foremost, let us define what discourse is. Todorov

defines discourse as any speech-act supposing a speaker and a
listener, and in the speaker an intention to influence the
listener in some way1 ( Todorov, 1977: 25 ). Fowler holds a
similar view and treats the language of fiction as discourse —
'as active utterance and as ideological commitment" ( Fowler,
1983: 72 }. He further expounds the concept of discourse in
fiction as follows:

Discourse is the property of language which mediates the

interpersonal relationships which- must be carried by any act
of communication.
{ Fowler, 1983:52 )

Discourse is studies in all aspects of the novel to which

concepts like dialogue, point of view, attitude, world view,
tone, are relevant: the indication in language structure of the
author's beliefs, the character of his thought-processes, the
types of judgment he makes; similarly for the narrator and the
characters within the fiction; and the whole network of
interpersonal relationships between author, characters and
implied reader, as these are mediated through language.
Discourse in my sense is analogous to modality in the structure
of sentences.
{ Fowler, 1983: 45 }
So when we look at the discourse in fiction, we have to examine
the active interaction between the speaker and the addressee, and
the language that mediates their relationship. Then how about
narrative discourse? Fowler says:

Narrative discourse is created out of the interaction of the

culture's conventions, the author's deployment of these
conventions as they are coded in languaget and the reader's
activity in releasing- meaning from the text. The co-
operative process is ... intersubjective, a communicative act
calling upon shared values.
( Fowler, 1983: 81 }

Once again, the communication and interaction between the

author/narrator and the characters and readers are essential.
Since language is the means of communication and the mediator of
interaction, we have to look for the linguistic clues, for
example, in the choice of words and of syntactic constructions,
when we examine the narrative discourse*


Like most modern fiction writers, Mansfield favours the third

person 'centre of consciousness' narrator ( sometimes called the
third person reflector by Henry James ), through whom authors
filter their narratives ( Booth, 1983: 153 }. Except two stories
( The Young- Girl and The Lady's Maid ), all the stories in
this collection { The Garden Partyand Other Short Stories )
basically adopt the third person centre of consciousness'
narrator. What kind of narration is it exactly? According to
Fowler, this narrator is a story-teller who does not tell his own
story, but someone else's story, or the event which he happens to
have witnessed ( Fowler, 1983: 83-84 }. Fowler even categorizes
this narrator as the type B narrator in his later work. The type
B narrator is not a participating character of the story, but an
outsider. However, he has access to the feelings of his
characters. So this omniscient author, who has knowledge of
everything in the story, is able to provide an internal view of
his characters, which is in some way framed by authorial ideology
( Fowler, 1986: 137-138 K

Maybe it is time to examine some stories and find out what

kind of narrator is used in them. If we look at the opening
paragraph of The Garden Party, we will find that it is an
omniscient author who speaks.

Mnd after all the weather was ideal. Hiey could not have had
a more perfect day for a garden party if they had ordered it.
Windless, warm, the sky without a cloud. Only the blue was
veiled with a haze of light gold, as it is sometimes in early
summer. The gardener had been up since dawn, mowing the
lawns and sweeping them, until the grass and the dark flat
rosettes where the daisy plants had been seemed to shine. As for
the roses, you could not help feeling they understood that roses
are the only flowers that impress people at garden parties; the
only flowers that everybody is certain of knowing. Hundreds,
yes, literally hundreds, had come out in a single night; the
green bushes bowed down as though they had been visited by
( Mansfield, 1983: 65 }

The use of an evaluative adverbial' "after air and a conditional

in the second sentence indicates it is the narrator's opinion
rather than a mere factual report. So it must be the discourse
of the narrator, a type B narrator, who is not a participating
character of the story as he addresses the characters as * they'.
The metaphorical language in the fourth sentence and the last
sentence further enhances the effect of estrangement. A switch
of tense into present serves two purposes, the first having a
generic sense as in fas it is sometimes in early summer* and
'roses are the only flowers that impress people at garden
parties1r and the second suggesting a community of viewpoint
between the narrator and reader as in * the only flowers that
everybody is certain of Mowing". Moreover, the shifting of the
pronoun from third person to second person also conveys a generic
sense. The generic sentence is a typical device used by an
assertive story-teller to impress people while the communal
viewpoint once again draws a line between the narrator and the
characters. Nonetheless, the narrator does not have knowledge of
the external world alone. He has gained some access to the minds
of the characters. For example, in The Garden Party, the
narrator gives us glimpses of thoughts of the innocent little
girl who comes from a rich family,

(a) Laura's upbringing made her wonder for a moment whether it

was quite respectful of a workman to talk to her of
bang's slap in the eye.
( Mansfield, 1983: 67 )

(b) To Laura's astonishment her mother behaved just

Jose; it was harder to bear because she seemed amused.
She refused to take Laura seriously.
{ Mansfield, 1983: 78 )

(c) 'I don't understand,1 said Laura, and she walked quickly
out of the room into her own bedroom* There, quite by
chance, the first she saw was this charming girl in the
mirror, in her black hat trimmed with gold daisies, and a
long black velvet ribbon* Never had she imagined she
could look like that*
{ Mansfield, 1983: 79 )

(d) Laura was terribly nervous.

( Mansfield, 1983:84 }
le are thus given a chance to Lave a glimpse of Laura's feeling.
The linguistic marker verba sentieiidi, which .reans ' vords
denoting- feelings, thoughts, and p^iceptzons" Fowler, 1986: 136
5 *, such as * astonishment", "it was harder to bear1 (b) and
'nervous" (d), signifies the subjective point of view of Laura,
But it would be wrong to say at this stage that Laura is
liberated and can feel frtt to express herself. The discourse is
basically still the narrative discourse, the discourse of the
omniscient narrator rather than that of Laura. 1 variety of
modal structures are used in the above excerpts, for instance,
verbs of evaluation like wonder9 (a), 'refused*, "seemed9 Cb);
verbs of prediction like "imagined" (c); evaluative adverbials
like 'Just like', 'seriously", "terribly' (b), * quite by chance"
(c); evaluative adjectives like * charming* (c). 'Modality is the
grammar of explicit t, the by which people express
their degree of to the truth of the propositions they
utter, and their on the desirability or otherwise of the
states of affairs referred to** { Fowler, 1986: 131 )
Therefore, the feeling of Laura is in fact f railed by the view of
the omniscient author.

Is has been Mentioned previously Mansfield basically adopts

the type B narrator in all the stories in this collection except
twor is it true that she sticks to what she has achieved and
never goes beyond its threshold? It would be better perhaps to
probe into the text ia orier to get insight. The following
extracts taien Iron fbe Gardes Party are about Laura's
when she pays a visit to the lead »mafs boose:
(a) His smile was so easy, so friendly, that Laura recovered.
What nice eyes he had, small but such a dark blue And now
she looked at the others, they were smiling*, too. 'Cheer
up, we won't bite,' their smile seemed to say* How very
nice workmen were! And what a beautiful morningi She
mustn't mention the morning; she must be business-like* The
( Mansfield, 1983: 66-67 1

(b) It's all the fault, she decided, *** of these absurd class
distinctions* Well, for her part, she didn't feel them*
Not a bit, not an atom *** And now there came the chock-
chock of wooden hammers* Someone whistled, someone sang out,
'Are you right there, matey?' 'Matey!' The friendliness of
it, the the — Just to prove how happy she was, just
to show the tall fellow how at home she felt, and how she
despised stupid conventions, Laura took a big bite of her
bread-and-butter as she stared at the little drawing* She
felt just like a work-girl*
( Mansfield, 1983: 68-69 }

(c) 0i, impossible* Fancy cream puffs so soon after breakfast*

The very idea made one shudder*
( Mansfield, 1983: 75 )

(d) Mow quiet it seemed after tJie afternoom* Mere she ras going
down the Mil to 5€t»eirJiere where a JUA Jaj cfearf, anil she
realize it* w&y cmtldM*t she?
( Mansfield, 1983: 83 }
(e) There lay a young man, fast asleep sleeping so soundly,
so deeply, that he was far, far away from them both. Oh, so
remotef so peaceful. He was dreaming. Never wake him up
again ... He was wonderful, beautiful. While they were
laughing and while the band was playing, this marvel had
come to the lane. Happy ... happy ... All is well, said
that sleeping face. This is just as it should be. I am
( Mansfield, 86-87 }

The language of these excerpts provides an answer to the above

question. First of all, the use of deixis 'now1 (a) and 'here1
(d) indicates that it is no longer the narrator's discourse, but
the character's own discourse. Because the narrator would say
'And then she looked at the others' and " There she was going down
the hill' if it were really from his point of view. Besides, a
shift of tense from past to present as in (e) signals a change in
point of view, i.e. from the narrator's to the character's, as
the narrator normally uses the past tense when he reports a past
action performed by the character or describes the state of mind
of the character in a past time. The use of pronoun is another
special linguistic device in the narrative. The narrator is
describing the feelings of Laura and uses the third person
singular pronoun *sAev to refer to Laura, Hie sudden shift of
the third person proaomm fshe* to the first person singular
pronoun f Jf means the narrator has already entered the mind of
Laura and gives her m free hand to tell her ova story.
Apart from the deixis, tense and pronoun, the vocabulary and
syntax also show that it is the language of a child, i.e. the
discourse of Laura rather than that of the narrator, 'cream
[Cream] puffs' (c) are always on the mind of the child, who tends
to use a very figurative way to describe things, for example, the
use of omnomatopoeia chock-chock' to describe the sound of
wooden hammers, or sometimes to use a somewhat exaggerated way —
- 'not an atom1 to describe * not a bit" (bK A child's
syntax tends to be simple and repetitive. Most of the sentences
in the above extracts are simple sentences, and there are only a
few complex sentences. There is a repeated use of the structure
"so ... so1 (a) and (e), * Just to ... just to1 (b). The constant
use of exclamations reveals the innocence and wonder of the
child. Moreover, a child likes to pretend to be mature, and the
last two sentences in (a) is a very good example, 'these [These]
absurd class distinctions' and 'She [she] felt just like a work-
ffirP (b) illustrate the romanticism of a young girl. Laura's
unusual response to the manfs death in (e) demonstrates a young
girlfs capacity for creativity and imagination.

At this stage we can no longer say Mansfield still uses the

type B narrator in the narrative. She has in fact shifted to a
different type of narrator — type A, which "consists of first-
person narration by a participating" character, or third-person
narration strongly coloured with personal markers of the
character's world-view or including internal Apologue1 ( Fowler,
1986: 135 }. Type A differs fro» type B in the sense that type A
narration is wholly subjective while type B narration Allows an
authorial phrasing of the character's feelings, Ihich tfpe of
narrator does Bansfield eventually choose ia the story [13?

B or type A? The answer is: neither type B nor type A. To be
more exact, one should say: a combination of both. The
juxtaposition of these two types of narrator in the same story
helps to create a new style called free indirect style { FIS } :
internal perspective in which the character's subjective
feelings , given in type A narration transformed into third
person, are interwoven with and framed by the author's account
of the character's inner state type { type B )" ( Fowler , 1986:
138 ) . The greatest advantage of this type is that the author is
able to put side by side two sets of values { i.e. the
character's as well as the narrator's ) , one of which may be an
implied critique of the other, without giving any direct and
explicit judgment on his character as some traditional authors
do. The f o l l o w i n g two excerpts f r o m ' The Garden Party'
illustrate the advantage of the FIS quite well, In (a) the cook
treats the two little girls with cream puffs whereas in {b} the
mother asks Laura to send some food to the poor family.

(a) 'Have one each, my dears, * said cook in her comfortable

'Yer ma won't know. f
Ob, impossible* Fancy cream puffs so soon, after breakfast.
The very idea made one shudder. Mil the same, two minutes
later Jose and Laura were licking* their fingers with that
absorbed inward loo* that only comes from whipped
( Mansfield, 1983: 15 1

Cb) *Get me tie Jtiff Msket out of the stairs

"Art, jffriNber, *fc> jw really tMoi it's & good iifea?* said

ioir curious, she seemed to Jte Hfforeat from

them all. To take scraps from their party* Mould the poor
woman really like that?
{ Mansfield, 1983: 83 )

The second paragraph of (a) includes two views: the view of Jose
and Laura, and the view of the narrator. At first, Jose and
Laura refuse to eat cream puffs since they have just had their
breakfast. But, the narrator, through using the adverbial 'All
the same' puts forward his judgment and concludes that Jose and
Laura are, after all, children who cannot resist the temptation
of cream puffs. In (b), the linguistic markers 'Again*, 'bow
curious' and the verb of evaluation "seemed' reflect the
narrator's view of Laura, the following infinitive sentence and
the question show the doubt of Laura and it is the very own view
of Laura that confirms the narratorfs judgment of Laura.

Now, perhaps we can attempt to give an answer to the question

'What kind of narrator does Mansfield choose?". Mansfield is
quite consistent in the use of narrator in her stories. She
interweaves type A and type B narrations throughout almost all
the stories in this collection, and thus creates a new style
called FIS. The use and significance of FIS will be further
looked into in the following section.



Mansfield o f t e n begins her stories with an external

perspective. Again, she seldom stays with where she starts* An
internal perspective is in f a c t the u l t i m a t e goal t h a t she
desires to achieve, for her aim in writing is to dig deeper in
life and explore its meanings. *lt the Bay* t the longest story
in t h i s c o l l e c t i o n , is a good example to i l l u s t r a t e the
perspective of Mansfield's stories.

Part I of the story is a description of the bay before dawn*

The second person pronoun in * Yon could not see —* and 'Perhaps
if you had waked up .. „ f indicates the narrator is talking to the
readers about the beautiful scenery at the bay. The speculative
verb and adverb "seemed' and 'perhaps*, the aodal auxiliary
'might have seeded1 and the repeated use of 'as though* and f a s
if1 are words of estrangement, which help to provide an external
perspective. Such a descriptive scene would be made totally
external by other authors* But Mansfield always gives her
description a magic touch and animates everything. The sheep and
the old sheep-dog are personified. The use of onomatopoeia Baa!
Baa!' ( Mansfield, 1983: 10 } breaks the silence of the dawn.
The repetition of the adjective 'sane* in 'For a time they* seemed
to be always on the sane piece of grvwf. Hiere alieadf was

stretched the sa®dy road with shallow puddles? the same

iusies s4ore*f 0a eitfier side mi the $m& sMdow
Baitstield, *1W3: 11 I sJk©*s the boredon of the shepherd, tlie
mi tie old dog. X* other words, tie |ws|*ectl¥e of tie

passage has already shifted from external to internal. The
voices of the above three described objects have already
infiltrated into the narrator's voice. The combination of the
present-tense adverb * now* and the past-tense verb { Mansfield,
1983: 11 ) shows the two deictic spheres, one referring to the
narrator and the other the characters, are placed side by side.
That means voices from different deictic spheres are interwoven,
thus creating a dialogic relationship. It is very obvious that
in the sentence ' It was marvellous how quietly the mist thinned,
sped away, dissolved from the shallow plain, rolled up from the
hush and was pone as if in a hurry to escape* { Mansfield, 1983:
11 } the internal view of the shepherd (i.e. *It was marvellous']
and the external view of the narrator { ' as if in a hurry to
escape* } are intermingled. Mansfield continues to describe the
scene at the bay using an internal perspective, i.e., from the
perspectives of the shepherd, the old sheep-dog and the sheep.
The following is a funny little scene seen from the point of view
of the old sheep-dog Wag:

Then the first inhabitant appeared; it was the Burnells' cat

Florrie,' sitting on the gatepostf far too early as usual, looting
for their milk-girl. When she saw the old sheep-dog she sprang
up quicklyf arched her back, drew in her tabby head* and seemed
to give a little fastidious shiver* *ffgh! Mhat a coarse,
revolting creature!9 said Florrie* But the old sheep dog* not
looking-up, waggled past, flinging out Ms legs from side to
side. Only one of his ears twitched to prowe that be saw* md
thought Mr a silly joting female.
I Sansfieid* 1§8J: 12 )

The antagonism between the cat and the sheep-dog is clear. The
expressions 'far too early as usual' f 'her tabby head* f a little
fastidious shiver'f a silly young female9 are words of criticism
made by the old sheep-dog. Towards the end of part I, fWag- ran
out along- a ledge of rock after something- that smelledr and ran
back disgusted.' { Mansfield, 1983: 13 } The use of verba
sentiendi 'disgusted' shows that it is obviously the view of the
old sheep-dog.

Many an author adopts an internal perspective and depicts the

mind of the character yet still from the point of view of the
narrator or author. But Mansfield gradually discards her own or
the narrator's point of view in the course of narrative and sets
her characters free in order that they can narrate their own
stories. Therefore , we can have a chance to probe into the
consciousness of the characters and have a more thorough
understanding of their psyches. Free indirect style, stream of
consciousness (2) and flashbacks are the devices that Mansfield
uses to depict the psyches of her characters. While allowing her
characters to express their views freely, Mansfield does not
totally suppress the voice of the narrator, whose view is in fact
constantly infiltrated into the views of the characters. The
narrator's voice soitetiaes helps to throw light on the psyches
and minds of the characters. Let us take the examples of Linda
and Beryl and exaaine tke internal and psychological perspective
of 'Mt tire Bay1.

tJHsr picofrees stone/ the

glittered!f il^ tie *er*ftdtf polost In
gold flame. If only one had time to look at these flowers long
enough, time to get over the sense of novelty and strangeness,
time to know them! But as soon as one paused to part the petals,
to discover the under-side of the l e a f , along case Life and one
swept away. And, lying- in her cane chair, Linda felt so light;
she felt like a leaf. Along- cane Life like a wind and she was
seized and shaken; she had to go. Oh dear, would it always be
so? Was there no escape?
Now she sat on the veranda of their Tasmanian home, leaning-
against her father's knee. And he premised, "As soon as you and
I are old enough, linny, we'll cut off somewhere, we'll escape.
Two boys together. I have a fancy I'd like to sail up a river in
China. * Linda saw that river, very wide, covered with little
rafts and boats. She saw the yellow hats of the boatmen and she
heard their high, thin voices as they called ...
'Yes, papa. '
( Mansfield, 1983: 32 )
From the poetic language and the deixis 'Now1 we know it is Linda
who speaks. Her choice of vocabulary "wreathed1 brings out her
pessimistic view towards life. she compares one's life to a
leaf. She thinks that once you find out the real meaning of life
you will perish. From the conditional sentence 'If only one
had time to ..." r and the repeated use of the word * time" and the
parallel infinitive construction in it r we know at present she
does not have any spare time to appreciate the flowers. The use
of an exclamation mark after the conditional sentence indicates
the sense of urgency as well as her despair. The exclamatory
phrase "Oh dear' followed by two questions further reveals her
frustrations in life and her attempt to escape from the weary
life. The attempt is immediately echoed by a flashback that

depicts a scene between Linda and father, who are dreaming of
escaping to China, a land of mystery. Linda then recalls the
joyous rnoBient in which she announces the news of her marrying
Stanley. Yet joy is shortlived. She understands very well that
Stanley is not her type and his behaviour is sometimes a bit
ridiculous in the eyes of Linda. ' But the trouble was — here
Linda felt almost inclined to laugh, though Heaven knows it was
no laughing matter she saw her Stanley so seldom*' (
Mansfield, 1983:33 ) In this quotation, Linda f s voice is
intermingled with the narrator's. The narrator uses the present
tense verb in 'Heaven knows' to express a generic view shared by
the community. The 'her1 indicates it is Linda who
actually speaks. Her unsatisfactory relationship with Stanley is
the cause of her grudge against life. The following quotation
best illustrates her psyche:

— but all the rest of the time it was like living in a house
that couldn't be cured of the habit of catching on fire/ on a
ship that got wrecked every day. And it was always Stanley who
was in the thick of the danger* Her whole time was spent in
rescuing him, and restoring him, and calming him downf and
listening to his story. And what was left of her time was spent

in the dread of having children.

Linda frowned; she sat up quickly in her steamer chair and
clasped her ankles. Yes, that was her real grudge against life;
that was what she could not understand* That was the quotation

she as&ad and asked* and listened in vain for the answer.
{ Mansfield, 1983: 33-34 }

The parallel structure of gerunds { 'rescuing ... restoring ...
calming ... listening to* ) and the repeated use of the clause
that was* heighten her feeling of frustrations. Nothing could
save Linda, not even her children, whom she does not love and is
so indifferent to.

Besides Linda, Beryl, another female character in the same

story, experiences frustrations in l i f e yet of a d i f f e r e n t
nature. She is dying for a lover. Let us look at the following

You seef it's so frightfully difficult when you've nobody.

You're so at the mercy of things. You can't just be rude, And
you've always this horror of seeming inexperienced and stuffy
like the other ninnies at the Bay. And and it's fascinating
to know you've power over people. Yesf that is fascinating —

Oh whyf oh why doesn't *he* come some soon?

If I go on living here, thought Beryl, anything may happen to Me.

'But how do you know he is coming at all?' mocked a small voice

within her.
But Beryl dismissed it. She couldn't be left. Other people,
perhaps,but not she. It wasn't possible to think that Beryl
Fairfield newer married, that lovely fascinating girl.
( Mansfield, 1983; 60-61 ]

But now — it's suddenly dear to you. It's a darling little
funny room. It's yours. Oh, what a joy it is to own things!
Nine — my own!

(Mansfield, 1983:59)

The use of an imaginary dialogue between Beryl and an unknown

lover reveals the desire of Beryl, The repeated use of 'Let us1
intensifies her desire to get a lover. Beryl then directly
addresses the readers and appeals to their sympathy. The
colloquial expressions 'you sea1, 'tie other ninnies" show it is
Beryl who speaks, and the shift of tense from past to present
shows Beryl's problem is imminent and she wants to solve it
immediately. The shift of pronoun from "she* to 'I1 [3] and the
use of the deixis 'here' suggest the narrator has completely
entered the mind of Beryl and even gives her a free hand to tell
her own story. However, only after a short while, the narrator's
own voice emerges again. The shift back to past tense and fsAef
once again re-establishes the narrator's position as a story-
teller in the narrative. The dialogic relationship of the
narrator and Beryl's voices adds some depth to the psychological
perspective of the narrative. So far we have seen that the
perspective Mansfield adopts in the stories is basically an
internal one, though apparently external at the start, and a
psychological one. She does not allow only one voice to speak*
Neither does she examine the psyche of merely one character. Her
stories consist of a polyphony of voices and thus a multitude of

Just take the example of 'At the Bay1, we have male voices
and female voices, who are at times antagonistic. For example,
after Stanley leaves home, the whole family, old Mrs. Fairfield,
Linda, Beryl, the servant girl, the children ... are relieved.

Oh, the relief, the difference it made to have the man out of the
house. Their very voices were changed as they called to one
another; they sounded warm and loving- and as if they shared a
( Mansfield, 1983: 20 )

Even between males, there is a difference between a serious manrs

voice ( e.g. Stanley ) and a carefree man's voice (e.g. Jonathan).
And between females, there are conventional women and
unconventional women. For example, the women at the Bay find
Mrs. Kember bizarre because she is the only woman at the Bay who
smokes incessantly and her husband is at least ten years younger
than her. Besides, age also divides people. Beryl as a young
girl definitely has a different voice from the older people like
her mother. No wonder she says: 'Poor old mother, she smiled, as
she skimmed over the stones. Poor old motherl Old! Oh, what
joy, what bliss it was to b® young ... *
{ Mansfield, 1983; 26 1

We have also adults1 voices and children's voices, who sometimes
fail to understand each other. The scene about Kesia and her
grandma is a good example. nevertheless, children, though
innocent, create different opposing voices. The Trouts, the
Josephs and the Burnells are constantly in battle with each
other. The Burnells once criticize the Josephs: fThey were too
awful.' ( Mansfield, 1983; 23 } We have also the baby's voice.
Besides the characters1 voices, we have the narratorfs voice, the
implied authorfs voice. And apart from human voices, we also
have the voices of the sheep, the old sheep-dog, the sleepy sea,
the little streams, the cat's voice, the birds1 singing ... The
story is indeed animated by voices of various sorts, thus
creating a multi-perspective.
Apart from internal, psychological and multiple perspectives,
a word should be said about the 'spatio-temporal perspective of
the book* First, about the spatial dimension, which refers to
the viewing position that the reader occupies when looking at the
objects in the book with the help of the organization of the
language. Let us examine the highly pictorial passage setting the
opening scene of * At the Bay':

Very early morning* The sun was not yet risen, and the whole of
Crescent Bay was hidden under a white sea-mist* The biff hush-
covered hills at the hack were smothered. You could not see
where they ended and the paddocks and bungalows began. The sandy
road was gone and the paddocks and bungalows the other side of
it; there were no white dunes cowered with reddish grass beyond
them; there was nothing to mark which was beach and where was the
sea. A heavy dew had fallen. T»e grass was blue. Big drops

hung on the bushes and just did not fall; the silveryo, fluffy
toi-toi was limp on its long- stalks, and all the mangolds and
the pinks in the bungalow gardens were bowed to the earth with
wetness. Drenched were the cold fuchsias, round pearls of dew
lay on the flat nasturtium leaves. It looked as though the sea
had beaten up softly in the darkness, as though one immense wave
had come rippling, rippling- how far? Perhaps if you had waked
up in the middle of the night you might have seen a big fish
flicking in at the window and gone again ...
(Mansfield, 1983:9}

From the quotation above we can see how the language

contributes to the building of spatial perspective. The scene
starts with a flong shot1, presenting a general view of f the
whole of Crescent Bay1. The prepositional phrases help to single
out the feature of the Bay, which is 'bidden under a white sea-
mist1, at that moment and paint its backdrop, i.e. there are some
'big bush-covered hills at the back1. The use of oxymorons, a
pair of contrasting words put side by side to create a certain
effect, 'ended1 and 'began1 in 'You could not see where they
ended and the paddocks and bungalows began, and the parallel
structure in 'there were no white dunes ... there was nothing to
mark ... r reinforce the image of a misty and blurring scene.
Gradually the visual perspective shifts to a fclose-up1 of some
components of the landscape, which are held together by
prepositional phrases indicating directions and relationships.
For instance, fBig drops hung on the bushes ... the silvery,
fluffy toi-toi was limp on its long stalks, and all the marigolds
and the pinks in the bungalow gardens were bowed to the earth ...

round pearls of dew lay on the flat nasturtium leaves.1 Such
locative phrases are frequently employed in this passage as well
as in the subsequent descriptive scenes for two purposes: first,
'they insist on the spatial content of the prose, the foreground
the theme of the representation of a place and its component
parts1; second, 'they also relate them1 in order that the reader
can view the scene 'from place to place in a definite order, with
a starting-point and a subsequent development which suggest an
initial viewing position and a chain of perceptions moving from
that position1 ( Fowler, 1986: 129 ). notice also the past
participle 'covered* is used twice in 'The big bush-covered
hills1 and 'no white dunes covered with reddish grass1, and it
implies vision from above because only when an observer views an
object from above can he see whether the surface of it is covered
with something. If we continue to' read the rest of the scene, we
will find the spatial point of view shifting all the time. For
example, from a general view of the Bay to a close-up view of a
corner of the Bay as illustrated by the locative phrases in
Round the corner of Crescent Bay, between the piled-up masses of
broken rock, a flock of sheep came pattering,1 ( Mansfield,1983:
10 }; then back to the general view of the Bay again through the
use of a demonstrative pronoun 'there1 as in 'There ahead was
stretched the sandy road with shallow puddles1 { Mansfield, 1983:
11 }; and then some close-ups of the shepherd, the sheep-dog, the
cat. So there is a constant wave-like alternation of visual
perspectives even within a scene.

The above analysis of the opening scene of fit the Bay1

provides a micro view of the spatial dimension of spatio-temporal
perspective. Perhaps we can have a look at the spatial dimension

from a more macro view. Mansfield moves her viewing angles not
only within the same location, for instance, the Bay. As a
matter of fact, she often shifts her vision from one location to
another when narrating a story. For example, in 'The Daughters
of the late Colonel1, Josephine and Constantia stay in their
house all the time. However, the spatial perspective does not
remain always static. On the contrary, it moves rather rapidly
from one location to another with the help of flashbacks and
stream of consciousness. At the beginning of the story,
Josephine and Constantia are talking in their bedroom. Then a
flahback brings them to the dining-room having breakfast with
Nurse Andrews. Another flahback shifts them beside the bed of
their dying father. After a few moments, they are found outside
and then inside their dead father's study-room. Besides their
house, the vision can also be seen from a cemetery where their
fatherf s funeral is held, and it shifts even farther away from
home to a foreign country — Ceylon. Mansfield is able to shift
the spatial point of view of her stories so easily and quickly
mainly because her focus is often on the consciousness of her
characters, and one's consciousness flows to and fro freely.
Thus, the viewing position follows the stream of consciousness
and changes its course of direction.

In fact, spatial dimension is sometimes affected by temporal

dimension. The change in spatial dimension is simply a result of
the change in temporal dimension. What is temporal point of view
then? It 'refers to the impression which a reader gains of events
moving rapidly or slowly, in a continuous chain or isolated
segments; it includes also disruptions of the "natural** flow of
time, by for example flashbacks, previsions or the interweaving

of stories which concern different ti-c-sh*rcs.' { Fcwler, 1986;
127 } Since the stream of consciousness is Mansfield's favourite
device, the temporal perspective of her stories does not often
follow a natural flow. Thus, there is a mixture of different
time spheres: the past, the present and even the future,
Sometimes there are obvious linguistic clues that aark the change
in time spheres, but sometimes there are none. In the latter
case, the reader has to be exceptionally alert and should pay
heed to the context in order to differentiate the time spheres.
Maybe we can examine the temporal dimension of a scene in !The
Singing Lesson 1 , in which a school teacher, while having a
singing lesson, is contemplating the letter by her boy-friend
saying that he has to break off their relationship.

Hiss Meadows lifted her arms in the wide gown and began
conducting' with hath hands. ' J feel more and more strongly
that our marriage would be a mistake —' sie beat. And the
voice cries: Fleetly! Ah, Fleetly* What could have possessed
him to write such a letter I What could have led up to it! It
came out of nothing* His last letter had been all about a fumed-
oak book-case he had bought for *ourr books, and a "natty little
hall-stand' he had seen, 'a very neat affair with a carved owl on
a bracket* holding three hat-brushes in its claws9. How she had
smiled at that! 5o like a man to think one needed three hat-
brushes! From the Listening Ear, sang the voices.
'Once again, * said Miss Meadows* 'But this tiae in parts. Still
without expression.9 Fast! Ah, too Fast, Vitb the gloom of the
contraltos added, one could scarcely help shuddering. Fade the
Roses of Pleasure. Last time he bad come to see her* Basil had

worn a rose in his buttonhole. ffow handsojsa he had looked in
that bright blue suit, with that dark red rose!

{ Mansfield, 1983: 206-207 }

Apparently this passage is a bit confusing in the time sphere.

The direct style sometimes reports words spoken in the present
time sphere, yet sometimes in the past time sphere. On a closer
look, though, we can discriminate the different time spheres with
the help of some linguistic markers and what is more important
is, in fact, the contextual clues. The first sentence refers to
the present time sphere, i.e. Miss Meadows conducting the singing
lesson. The second Sentence mostly written in a direct style is
a quotation taken from her boy-friend's letter and belongs to
another time sphere. The short clause 'she beat* immediately
after the quotation and the lyric of the song written in italics
refer to the present once again. The following two exclamations
that begin with the interrogative 'what1 are the queries and
present feelings of Miss Meadows. The quotations in the next
sentence are definitely words spoken by Hiss Meadows* boy-friend
in the past because the pronoun *our f and the colloquial
expression 'natty little hall-stand'are obviously words of her
boy-friend. The following exclamation is Miss Meadows1 present
comment of her past response to her boy-friend's words spoken in
the past. The lyric written in italics once again brings us out
of Miss Meadows1 consciousness and back to the present time
sphere: the singing lesson. Unlike the one at the beginning of
the passage, the direct style used in the next paragraph belongs
to the present time sphere, which continues to stretch until the
adverbial phrase of tiae 'Last* appears. Igaia, the exclamation

with the interrogative 'How', Hiss Meadows1 present comment on a
past incident, brings us back to the present time sphere. The

disruption of the temporal order is one of the characteristics of

Mansfield's stories. Apart from a blend of the past and present,

she sometimes even blends the p a s t , present and f u t u r e as
illustrated in the following passage:

'But, my darling, if you love me, ' thought Hiss Meadows, 'I don't
mind how much it is. Love me as little as you like. f But she
knew he didn't love her. Not to have cared enough to scratch out
that 'disgust*, so that she couldn't read it! Soon Autumn yields
unto Winter Drear. She would have to leave the school, too. She
could never face the Science Mistress or the girls after it got
known. She would have to disappear so&ewhere. Passes away. The
voices began to die, to fade, to whisper — to vanish — '
( Mansfield, 1983; 208-209 }

The use of modal verbs 'would1, 'could* suggests the possibility

of certain things that Miss Meadows may do in future, which is
interwoven with the present time sphere { i.e. the singing ) and
the past time sphere { i.e. the fact that her boy-friend writes
the word 'disgust1 and does not care to scratch it out }.

As it has been said before, the spatial and temporal

dimensions are sometimes interlinked. If we look into the
specially designed spatio-temporal perspective of Mansfield's
stories in depth, we will find something revealing. The
disruption in time order and the subsequent shift in location and

vision help to bring two otherwise totally different spheres
together, for example: actions and thoughts, fantasy and reality.
In 'Life of Ma Parker 1 , Ma Parker, a part-time domestic helper of
a literary gentleman, is doing the cleaning-up in the gentleman's
house, and occasionally talking to the gentleman, ¥hile she is
working and performing her d u t y on the one hand, she is
recollecting her past and reflecting on life on the other hand.
For example, Ma Parker traces her intimate relationship with her
grandson Lennie and recalls how she rears him and eventually
sends him to the cemetery. Despite the fact that it is a tragic
thing to recall, she still has to suppress her feeling and face
the day-to-day tough work.

(a) And for five years Ha Parker had another baby such a one
for crying! — to look after. Then young Maudie went wrong
and took her sister Alice with her; the two boys
ewigrimated, and young Jim went to India with the army, and
Ethel, the youngest, married a good-for-nothing little
waiter who died of ulcers the year little Lennie was born.
And now little Lennie my grandson ...
fie piles of dirty cups* dirty dishes, were washed and
dried. The ink-black kniwes were cleaned with a piece of
potato and finished off with a piece of corM» The table was
scrubbed, and the dresser and the slul that had sardine
tails swijminff in it ,.«
Se'd never been a stromff child —- nerar from the first.
Me 'id me of those fair that ererj^^fj tool for a
5iJrerj fair carls Jre Jhttfr e^&s* anil a Jit fie
iJbe a cp me ^ M* J*M** Jfc*
she and Ethel had had to rear that child!

( Mansfield, 1983:148-149 5

(b) But the last ... Ma Parker threw the counterpane over the
bed. No, she simply couldn't think about it. It was too
much — she'd had too much in her life to bear. Sh^'d
borne it up till now, she'd kept herself to herself, and
never once had she been seen to cry. Never by a living
soul. Not even her own children had seen Xa break down*
She'd kept a proud face always. But now! Lennie gone -
— what had she? She had nothing. He was all she'd got
from life, and now he was took too. Why must it all
iavd happened to me? she wondered.
'What have I done?9 said old Ha Parker. 'What have I done?9
As she said those words shd suddenly let fall her brush.
Sie found herself in the kitchen. Her misery was so
terrible that she pinned on her bat, put on her jacket and
walked out of the flat like a person in a dream. She did
not know what she was doing:.
( Mansfield,1983: 151 }

From the above passages, we know what Ma Parker is doing and what
she is thinking belong to two separate spheres, the former in the
real* of the preseat ( temporal ) and in the gentleman's house
I spatial J while the latter in the realm of the past { temporal I
and in her owa house or somewhere elsefs { spatial ) . Vhile
ble&ding separate spatio-temporal perspectives together,
pm^fiftli itiUB&aes to niai actions ami thoughts, tke j
i of t» o» tW life of

as well as her admirable strong character. Besides actions and
thoughts, fantasy and reality are another pair of realms that are
interwoven as a result of the blend of two different spatio-
temporal perspectives as in 'An Ideal Family 1 , which is about a
middle-aged man who all of a sudden realizes he is growing old.
He imagines himself watching an ancient old creature climbing up
and down:

But all his drowsing brain could think of was — too rich for
him. And somewhere at the back of everything1 he was watching a
little withered ancient man climbing up endless flights of
stairs. Who was he?
'I shan't dress tonight,' he muttered.
'What do you say, father?'
'Eh, what, what?' Old Mr. Neave woke with a start and stared
across at them. 'I shan't dress tonight, * he repeated.
'But, father, we've got Lucile coming, and Henry Davenport, and
Mrs. Teddie Walker. '
'Very well I Very well!' Old Mr. Neave got up and went to join
that little old climbing fellow just as far as bis dressing-room
Old Mr. Neave sigbed, got up, and putting one band under bis
beard, be toot the comb from young Charles, and carefully combed
tbe white beard over, Charles gave him a folded bamd&ercbieff bis
watch and seals, and spectacle case.
'That will do, my lad. ' Tbe door shut, be sant back* be was
alone —
Amd nor that little ancient fellow was climbing dom endless
flights tbat led to a glittering* gay dimimg-room. Mbat legs be
were UMe a spider's — ttiu*f mtbered*

'You're an ideal family, sir, an ideal family. *
But if that were true, why didn't Charlotte or the girls stop
him? Why was he all alone, climbing up and down? Where was
Harold? Ah, it was no good expecting anything from Sarold.
Down, down went the little old spider, and then, to his horror,
old Mr. Neave saw him slip past the dining-room and maMe for the
porch, the dark drive, the carriage gates, the office* Stop him,
stop him, somebody!
Old Mr. Neave started up. It was dfari in his dressing-room; the
window shone pale. How long had he been asleep?
{ Mansfield, 1983; 244-246 )

The passage is blended with Mr. Heave's imagination { an old

creature climbing sometime somewhere } and the reality ( he is
neglected by his family who are enjoying themselves and actively
involved in their own a f f a i r s K The blend of f a n t a s y and
reality as a result of the mixture of two d i f f e r e n t spatio-
temporal perspectives again helps to throw light on Mr. Heave's

Above all, what perspective does Mansfield adopt in this book?

From the analyses above, we can see she adopts an internal,
psychological, multiple and spatio-temporal perspective i& the




From the previous section, we know the infiltration of voices

and the shifting of spatial and temporal orders are Mansfield's
f a v o u r i t e narrative techniques, which h o w e v e r , may make the
stories appear rather incoherent. Is it true that Hansficld's
stories lack organization? Is there any structure in her
narrative? Under the apparently confusing narrative discourse,
there are embedded indeed some structures that are brought about
by certain salient linguistic f e a t u r e s , and these discourse
structures are significant in revealing the meaning of the text.

Foregrounding is the first discourse structure that we are

going to discuss in M a n s f i e l d ' s narrative. ¥hat is
foregrounding, then? Foregrounding is: 'whenever some item or
construction appears in a text vith unusual or noticeable
frequency and apparently for some valid reason, then cumulatively
a distinctive effect emerges' { Fowler, 1986; 71 ), for example,
the use of r e p e t i t i o n s of s o m e p h r a s e s , p a r a l l e l i s m and
equivalence, etc, A s for the motives and functions of
foregrounding, the perceptual salience it produces is n o t ,
despite our authorities, physical prominence of the expressive
medium for its own sake, but extra discourse structure iairitiag
interpretation.* C Fowler, 1986: 73 } Let as take tie example of
larriage a la lode* and discuss its discourse structure of
foregrounding* Hie qualitative adjective *ae«* is tine ami
repeated throughout tie stoty* sonetiies with the noun as ia
the new Isabel *, otier fines wilh different as in *tlw» mm

way', 'the new house', 'new people', 'new music*. This salient
linguistic feature helps to bring out an important aspect of the
story. Isabel, after knowing sone avant-garde artist friends,
has completely changed her life-style, and Williair is totally out
of hand when dealing with this f new f wife and her f new f friends.
From a repeated use of the quantifiers fso ...' used by Isabel
and her friends, we can see how exaggerating these people are
when they talk and how they tend to dramatize things. For
instance, fso dreadfully sentimental1 and fso apallingly bad for
the babies' sense of form' { Mansfield, 1983; 154 ), f so
dreadfully stuffy and tragic1, 'am frightfully keen on f f
'It's so awfully absurd' ( Mansfield, 1983: 158 }. ¥hen they
talk, they like to use exclamations. For example, Bill is
disappointed when he finds out there is no letter for him: 'But,
heartless postman 0 malignant world!* { Mansfield, 1983: 167
) The use of parallelism and equivalence by Denis *^hen he
describes what his friends are doing is another example to show
their language is out of the ordinary: 'A Lady in Love with a
Pine-apple1 ( Mansfield, 1983: 162 ), 'A Lady with a Box of
Sardines' ( Mansfield, 1983: 164 }, 'A Lady reading a Letter1 (
Mansfield, 1983: 167 }. Code-mixing is another characteristic of
their language, for instance, the use of Italian 'Hvanti!* and
French 'mes amis*. That is why William can hardly Jmow how to
cope with them. The parallelism and equivalence used in 'the
familiar dull gnawing in his breast quietened down* ( Mansfieldr
1983: 156 }, 'The dull, persistent gnawing in Ms breast started
again* { lansfield, 1983: 157 1 and fle folded Ms arsts against
the dull, persistent gnawing* C Hansfield, 1583: 166 } feigblight
William's uneasy feeling vis-a-vis these fnewf people, and his
> 4
newf wife in particular. VilUna is in fact not fcl© only

who disapproves of their 'new' style. The author's opinion is
implied in the discourse structure of foregrounding. If We
examine carefully the language used by Isabel's friends, we will
find the word 'divine1 having a religious connotation repeated
three times { Mansfield,1983: 62, 164,163 ), and the religious
image of anointing somebody with ointment is found in the speech
of one of them: "¥w shall have to anoint ourselves with the
butter/ said Denis. "Hay thy head, William, lack not ointment.1
( Mansfield, 1983:161 } To the author (or the implied author),
these people pursue fashion in such a manner as those who are
over-zealous to religion. In the end they exclude those who are
not their in-groups, like William. What is more ironic is that
these people are so sure of what they are doing that they never
doubt their course. Therefore, the significance of the discourse
structure is 'additional to the prepositional meaning, and often
at odds with the latter1 ( Fowler, 198C: 73 }.

Apart from foregrounding, there is another discourse

structure that gives you more insight about the minds and
consciousness of the characters, and this kind of discourse
structure is called structure of consciousness. 'By assigning a
consistent type of semantic structure to a character, or managing
some particularly significant transformations in a distinctive
way, the novelist is able to convey not only the sequence of a
character's thoughts but also the implicit structure and
quality of his outlook on the world1, { Fowler, 1983: 104 } The
language used to describe the little girl Fenella in 'The
Voyage 1 , who has to undertake a voyage and stay in her
grandmotherf $ home for some time since her mother has lied aai
her father is unable to take care of her, &est illustrates tMs

structure. In the following scene, Fenella's father bids them
farewell at the pier.

He sounded stern, but Fenella, eagerly watching him, saw that he

looked tired and sad. Hia-oo-oo-O-Oi The second whisle blared
just above their heads, and a voice like a cry shouted, 'Any more
for the gangway?'

'You'll give my love to father,' Fenella saw her father's lips

say. And her grandma, very agitated, answered, 'Of course I will,
dear. Go now. You'll be left. Go now, Frank. Go now. '
'It's all right, mother. I've got another three minutes.' To her
surprise Fenella saw her father take off his hat. He clasped
grandma in his arms and pressed her to him. 'God bless you,
mother!' she heard him say.
And grandma put her hand, with the black thread glove that was
worn through on her ring finger, against his check, and she
sobbed, 'God bless you, my own brave son!'
This was so awful that Fenella quickly turned her back on them,
swallowed once, twice, and frowned terribly at a little green
star on a mast head. But she had to turn round again; her father
was going.
'Goodbye, Fenella. Be a good girl. ' His cold, wet moustache
brushed her check. But Fenella caught hold of the lapels of his
( Mansfield, 1983; 173 )

The verbs of sensation ( e*g. see, watch, hear, listen } are a

dominant linguistic structure in this extract. Everything is

filtered through the eyes of Fenella: 'eagerly watching him, saw
that he looked tired and sad', 'saw her father's lips say 1 , 'saw
her father take off his h a t ' , 'she heard him say 1 . She is an
observer rather than a participant. She witnesses the parting
scene between her father and her grandmother, but without being
able to understand why they are so upset* In 'His cold, wet
moustache brushed her cheek 1 , it is the inanimate 'moustache 1
that is the agent of the action, and Fenella is a recipient. In
the end, she is trying to play a more active role by catching
hold of the lapels of her f a t h e r ' s coat. This syntactic
patterning of having an inanimate subject in a sentence is
recurrent throughout the whole story. The following passage
further illustrates this discourse structure;

The sailors put their shoulders to the gangway. A huge coil of

dark rope went flying through the air and fell thump on the
wharf. A bell rang; a whistle shrilled. Silently the dark wharf
began to slip, to slide, to edge away from them. Now there was a
rush of water between. Fenella strained to see with all her
might. 'Was that father turning round?' or waving? — or
standing alone? or walking off by himself? The strip of
water grew broader, darker. Now the Picton boat began to swing
round steady, pointing out to sea. It was no good looking any
longer. There was nothing to be seen but a few lights, the face
of the town clock hanging in the airf and more lights, little
patches of them, on the dark hills.
The freshening wind tugged at Fenella *$ skirts; she went back to
her ffrandma. To her relief grandma seemed no longer sad.
( Mansfield, 1983: 174 )

A series of action verbs 'went flying through ... and fell'.
'rang1, 'shrilled' are governed by inanimate objects 'A hugh coil
of dark rope', 'A bell', 'a whistle1 respectively rather than
animate beings. It is the dark wharf that slips, slides and
edges away from the people, not the people that slip, slide and
edge away from the dark wharf. Faced with the great forces of
the unknown world, Fenella, a little girl, is powerless. She can
only be a recipient of an action as in 'The freshening wind
tugged at Fenella's skirts1. As a matter of fact, she has tried
very hard to exert her influence on the environment — 'Fenella
strained to see with all her might1 but in vain. She cannot even
answer the question whether her father is turning round, or
waving, or standing alone, or walking off by himself. She cannot
change the fact that she has to part with her father. She does
not know when she can go home. She does not even have a say in
making the decision. The simple fact is that everything has been
decided for her. It is not her who goes to welcome the future,
but the future that comes to meet her, as illustrated in the
following sentences in which the inanimate agents actively catch
the attention of the animate recipient: "An immense basket of ham
sandwiches caught her eye.1 ( Mansfield, 1983: 176 ) 'The dark
round eye above the washstand gleamed at them dully. Fenella
felt shy*1 ( Mansfield, 1983: 177 ) As a result, she is not sure
of anything. Every now and then she can only make a guessr so
the verbs of prediction seemf and 'guess1 are often employed,
for example, 'To her great relief grandma seemed no longer sad
she was praying.1 ( Mansfield, 1983: 174 ), 'She seemed to know
grandma well1 ( Mansfield, 1983: 176 ). As she finds life full
of mystery and the outside world so uncertain, subconsciously she
often clasps everything tightly, for example/ ... and Fenella

clutched the clammy brass rail and forgot all aboout the swan-
necked umbrella' ( Mansfield, 1983: 175 ) f 'She stood against the
door, still clasping her luggage and the umbrella* ( Hansfield,
1983: 177 }.

Lastly, some discourse structure is not idiosyncratic,

but conventional.'Structural patterns in a language by convention
encode various interpersonal and cognitive experiences and
relationships,' ( Fowler, 1983: 113 } We call this type of
discourse structure sociolinguistic structure 1 , which is
normally found in the speech and dialogue of characters in the
stories. Let us look at the speech of Ha Parkerr the main
character in 'Life of Ha Parker1:

'Beer parding, sir?'

( Mansfield, 1983: 143 )
Be off with you; Gran ain't got no pennies. '
( Mansfield, 1D83: 144 }
' ... sitting in the fire-place of a evening you could see the
stars through the chimley, r and 'Itether always 'ad *er side of
bacon 'anging from the ceiling. '
( Hansfield, 1983: 146 }

Ha Parker certainly speaks a dialect, in which the fricative [h]

is not pronounced as in 'ad 'er ... 'aaging ...", and there is
the use of a double negative as in fain't got no pennies*. She
also speaks with some accent* Her aoB-staalaira pronunciation is
represented by a variant spelling such as Asking* C asking )r

'arding' ( pardon ), Ditching-Mid' { kitchcn-aaid )f
'chimley' ( chimney ), 'beedles' ( beetles ), • emigrated' {
emigrated K Her English is also ungrajanatical. For example,
sho uses an indefinite article 'a1 in front of a word that begins
with a vowel sound: 'a evening 1 ; she does not LSC the past
participle of 'take1 in the passive fen:; fand now hd was took
too 1 . The speech of a person offers us some information and it
shows 'an affinity between the user and some identifiable group1
{ Page, 1988: 5C ) Ha Parker's speech shows she coc*s froa a
lower socio-economic group, who do not speak standard English and
who are not well educated. Becaase of the poor background, Ha
Parker is a constant victim of the environment. In contrast with
Ma Parker, the literary gentleman, the person who comes from an
upper socio-economic class and whom Ma Parker works for, usc-s a
more elaborated code when he speaks. For instance, he says to Ha
Parker, 'I hope the funeral went off all right*1 ( Mansfield,
1983: 143 ) But Ma Parker fails to understand the phrasal verb
'went off 1 . So the discourse structure can differentiate people
socio-econoiaicallly. People of a certain in-group can also be
distinguished from the language they use in speech. For
instance, Isabel and her friends use a very special code when
they talk to each other. Their language is full of metaphors and
hyperboles, and they code-mix different languages. They are
supposed to be avant-garde, leading the latest trend in art, So
any one outside their group will find it hard to comprehend their


Therefore, despite the seemingly incoherent surface

structure, some structures are embedded ia Mansfield's aarratiire
discourse and they are: foregrounding, structure of consciousness

and sociolinguistic structure. Todorov's words can best conclude
this section: 'The organization of the narrative is therefore
produced on the level of the interpretation and not on thai of
the events-to-be-interpreted. The combination of these events
arc sometimes singular, incoherent, but this docs not .ucan that
the narrative lacks organization; simply this organization is
situated on the level of ideas, not on that of events. 1 {
Todorov, 1984: 130 ) So the reader has to reconstruct everything
in the process of reading. The reader is an active participant
rather than a aere passive recipient. There is a constant
interaction between the reader and characters, the narrator and
the implied author. Discourse is thus created out of the




In every talc the narrator tells a jtory cither of his own or

of someone dsc's. Sonic stories are narrated in a very dramatic
way while others are less so. How about the narratives of
Mansfield's stories? Ifhat is the nature of her narrative? Out
of the fifteen stories in this collection, nearly all the stories
are narrated in an undraaatie and unexciting manner. The events
choscu ;u-c not of *uiict interest. They arc in fact the trifles of
life. For example, "It the Bay* talks about the daily lives
of different people at the bay, 'The Garden Party1 is about a
rich family making preparation for a garden party. 'The Daughter
of the Late colonel* is about two sisters discussing how to
arrange the things left behind by their dead father. Mr. and
Mrs. Dove1 is about a young man bidding a girl with whom he
secretly falls in love farewell. 'The Young Girl1 talks about
how a man takes care of a little boy and meanwhile entertains his
elder sister while their mother is away gambling at a casino.
'Life of Ha Parker* is Ha Parker's reflections on her hard life.
'Marriage a la Mode' is a story about a husband going home and
spending his weekend with his family. 'The ¥oyagef talks about a
little girl who has to follow her grandmother hoaa after her
mother dies, 'Miss Brill1 is about how aa old lady speads ber
weekend in a park. *Her First Ball1 talks about a young girl's
experience in her first ball, 'The Singing Lessoa* is about a
qu$ic t^aclpr's feeling during a lesson. 'The Stranger1 is about
a w^lcoaimi Ms wife feacl after her lom§ wacmfioa abroad.
'Bank Holiday* do lip lag & holiday.

'An Ideal Family• describes the feeling of a middle-aged man at
home. 'The Lady's Maid' is a monologue of a maid who tells her
neighbour about her life and her lady.

Not only does Mansfield like to talk about minute things in

life, but she also likes to present her narrative in a
deliberately undramatic manner, In fact, some stories could have
been made very dramatic* For example, in 'The Garden Party1, the
death of a man in the neighbourhood could have been treated in
such a way that would add more excitement to the whole story.
Nevertheless, Mansfield's focus is never on the drama of an
event. The language that she uses is highly poetic, i.e. a lot
of figures of speech like metaphors, similes, personifications,
using onomatopoeias, etc { please refer to the excerpts quoted
above especially the opening scene of 'At the Bay1 in SECTION
III ), and the poetic language helps to create a static effect as
poetic language is normally used to depict scenery or the psyche
of a character rather than the action of the story, which
requires more direct and literal language. So on the whole
Mansfield's narrative is basically of a static nature yet
psychologically dynamic if we look deeper into it* There is a
very exciting and dynamic description of Mr. Hammond's psyche in
'The Stranger'. While he is waiting for the arrival of his wife,
he cannot help feeling ecstatic:

His hands were shaking, but he'd got bold of himself again. Be
was able to face Janej. There she was ... how small she looted
on that huge ship. Sis heart was wrung with such a spasm that he
could have cried out. How little she Joolecf to hawe come all

that long way and back by herself! Just like her, though. Just
like Janey.

( Mansfield, 983: 217 }

The repeated use of exclamations 'how small 1 and 'How little 1 ,

and the adverbial phrase 'Just like 1 highlights Mr. Hammond's
excitement on seeing his wife, and the metaphor with such a
spasm 1 further enhances this feeling of excitement. In the
following passage, Mrs, Hammond goes to say good-bye to the
ship's doctor and Mr. Hammond is again waiting for her:

Would she really not be long? What was the time now? Out came
the watch; he stared at nothing* That was rather queer of Janey,
wasn't it? Why couldn't she have told the stewardess to say
goodbye for her? Why did she have to go chasing after the ship's
doctor? She could have sent a note from the hotel even if the
affair had been urgent. Urgent? Did it — could it mean that
she had been ill on the voyage she was keeping something from
him? That was it!
( Mansfield, 1983: 221 )

The series of questions bring Mr, Hammond from a state of ecstasy

to a state of doubts and worries. The simple declarative
sentence 'That was it!* confirms his doubts. And then they are

alone in a hotel:

(a) He groaned for love and caught her close again. And

as always, he had the feeling he was holding something that

never was quite his — his. Something too delicate, too
precious, that would fly away once he let go.

( Mansfield, 1983: 222 }

(b) But just as when he embraced her he felt she would fly away,
so Hammond never knew — never knew for dead certain that
she was as glad as he was. How could he know? Would he
ever know? Would he always have this craving — this pang
like hunger, somehow, to make Janey so much part of him that
there wasn't any of her to escape? Be wanted to blot out
everybody, everything.
( Mansfield, 1983; 226 }

In (a) the verb 'groaned1 depicts Mr. Hammond's strong feeling

for his wife and the action verb 'caught1 shows his desperate
attempt to keep his wife. The repetition of the adverb 'again1,
the pronoun 'something1, the possessive pronoun "his 1 , the
modifier 'too1, and the series of questions and the repetition of
the negative sentence fnever knew1 in (b} intensify this sense of
uncertainty* The universal quantifiers 'everybody* and
'everything* indicates Mr. Hammond has already fallen into a
state of extreme despair. Then, his wife discloses the fact to
him that a young man has died in her arms on board the ship.

The blow was so sudden that Hammond thought he would faist* Be

couldn't move; he couldn't breathe. He felt all his strength

flowing flowing into the big dark chair, and the big dark
chair held him fast, gripped him, forced him to bear it.

( Mansfield, 1983: 228 )

The two parallel sentences containing the action verbs 'move1 and
'breathe' are short yet very effective in describing Mr.
Hammond's response to the sudden blow. The repetition of the
present participle 'flowing1 and the noun phrase 'the big dark
chair' is emphatic* There is a reversal of the positions of the
agent and the recipient, Mr, Hammond, being the agent of the
action in the first two-thirds of the passager has gradually lost
his power, and the inanimate object f the big dark chair1 has, on
the contrary, gathered enough momentum and become the agent. So
it is 'the big dark chair1 that 'held him fast, gripped him*
forced him to bear it f , not the reverse. Mr. Hammond is now in a
state of immense shock. Then,

Janey was silent. But her words, so light, so soft, so chill,

seemed to hover in the air, to rain into his beast lite snow*
The fire had gone red. Now it fell in with a sharp sound and the
room was colder. Cold crept up his arms. The room was huge,
immense, glittering. It filled his whole world. ...
No; he mustn't think of it. Madness lay in thinking of it. Mof
he wouldn't face it. He couldn't stand it. It was too much to

( Mansfield, 1983: 230 }

The repeated use of the modifier 'so1 to describe the words of
Mrs. Hammond draws our attention to the effect of the words oa
Mr. Hammond. The simile 'snow* is further echoed in the
following paragraph by the images of the huge room, the cold that
fills the room as well as the cold that fills his whole world.
The repeated use of the negative 'No1 and the negative
construction f mustn f t think1, f wouldn l t face 1 and 'couldn't
stand1, and the modal verbs 'mustn't1, 'wouldn't1 and 'couldn't1
all indicate Mr, Hammond's determination to get rid of the whole
thing* However, deep down his heart he knows very well that
'They would never be alone together again1. { Mansfield, 1983:
230 } This uneasy psychological state will persist forever in
the heart of Mr. Hammond. Looking back, we can see the sorts of
psychological states Mr. Hammond has gone through: ecstasy,
doubts, despair, shock, uneasiness. So the narrative is indeed
dynamic though static on the surface, Mansfield's narrative is
also psychic as the focus of the story is always on the ebb and
flow of the character's psyche rather than the development of the
Another factor to consider about the nature of the narrative
is the relationship between the events and the instances of
discourse in the narrative. Do they happen simultaneously or
not? If the events and discourse match each other temporallyw
the story is then said to follow a narrative logic, if the events
happen before the discourse, the story is then said to follow a
ritual logic. Todorov sums up the concepts of narrative logic
and ritual logic in the following words:

Jferratire Jogi<? Implies, ideally, a teoporalitr we miffht call tie

'perpetual present'. ... There is a perfect parallelism between
the series of events one speaks of and the series of the
instances of discourse. Discourse is never behind and never
ahead of what it evokes. The characters, too, live in the
present alone; the succession of events is governed by a logic
proper to it, and is influenced by no external factor.
On the other hand, ritual logic is based on a conception of
time, which is that of the 'external return'. Here no event
happens for the first time or the last time. Everything- has
already been foretold, and now one foretells what will follow.
The origin of the rite is lost in the origin of time ... '
( Todorov, 1977: 132 )

Most of the stories in this collection follow a narrative logic,

for instance, fThe Garden Party1,, 'Mr. and Mrs. Dove1, fThe
Young Girl1, 'Marriage a la Mode1, 'The Voyage1, §Miss Brill1,
'Her First Ball1, 'The Stranger1, 'Bank Holiday1, 'An Ideal
Family'. A few stories have a mixture of narrative logic and
ritual logic. For example, 'At the Bay1, 'The Daughters of the
Late Colonel', 'Life of Ma Parker1 and 'The Singing Lesson1,
These four stories basically follow the narrative logic, except
that in the course of the narrative there are soae scenes of
flashbacks, the events in whicii have actually taken place when
they are told by the narrator or the character concerned, so a
ritual logic is included. 'The Lady's Maid1 is the only story in
the collection which uses a ritual logic because the whole story
is in fact a maid's recollection of her past, her childhood
experience with her grandfather aad her aunt, her relationship
with the ladies whom she has served and is serving, her broken

love affair and so on. All the events happened long before the
maid's discourse that takes place at present. As a matter of
fact, 'The Lady's Maid* is rather different from other stories in
this book in its narrative techniques as well as its narrative

In a nutshell, Mansfield's narrative is of a psychic and

dynamic nature, and basically follows the narrative logic.



In a discourse there must be a speaker and an addressee, and

during their interaction we can see what sort of relationship
they have. To begin with, maybe we can talk about the
relationship between the narrator and the characters,
Mansfield's narrator is basically an omniscient narrator, so he
is supposed to know a lot about his characters. The most basic
duty that he performs is of course to present the situation as
well as the characters. In 'In the Bay1, the narrator presents
the characters one by one: Jonathan, Stanley, Beryl, Mrs.
Kember, Linda, Mrs. Stubbs, etc. Besides giving a physical
account of his characters, the narrator also describes the
feelings of the characters, for example, a description of the
shopkeeper Mrs. Stubbs1 feeling: 'There was a look of mild
astonishment on her large face.1 ( Mansfield, 1983: 43 }* He also
describes the relationship between the characters. For instance,
on presenting Linda and Jonathan, he says, 'They knew each other
well.' { Mansfield, 1983: 52 } The narrator sometines even gives
his own comment on the characters. Let us look at the following
extract from 'Mr. and Mrs. Dove1, in which Anne suddenly laughs
while Reginald is talking to her:

'I really must conquer it,f it's too absurd, ' sai$ she.
'Good heavens, Anne, ' cried Re&ffie, *I love to hear yon lanffbin®!

I can't imagine anythinff more -—*

But the truth as, and they both tuer it* ske wasn't always

laughing; it wasn't really a habit. Only ev^r since the Jay
they'd iwt, c7*r since that ;ery first M^htf for sc^ string*
reason that Reggie wished to Scd he uzderstood, A^c bad lauyh*d
at hit*. Why? It didn't matter vb*rc tb*y ^iv or whit tb*y w*re
talking about. They &igbt b^gin by beib? as serious as possible,
dead s^rioas --- at any rate as far as he was concerned — but
then suddenly, Li tie ^iddlv of a sentence, ina* would glance at
bix, aud a little quid: quiver passed over her face- Her lips
parted, her £y&s daj^ced, and sic begaL laughing.
( Mansfield, 1933: 12S )

The narrator seems to be superior and points out the truth.

Sometimes he even criticizes his characters' judgment* For
example, in *In the Bay*, Beryl guesses that the said Alice has
had an affair with a man:

'She supposed Alice had picked up some horrihle common larrikin

and they'd go off into the bush together. *.- But nof Beryl
was unfair. 'I Mansfield, 1983; 41 }

On the other hand, the narrator ma^ sometimes show his sympathy
to the characters, just like the sympathy giwen to the little
girl Lottie in fln the Bay1: *fhere as poor little Lottie, left
behind again.* ( Hansfieli, 1983: 21 ) lo aatter what; duties lie
performs, presenting the physical or the minds ami
feelings of his characters^ or iepictiaf the relationships
between climracters, or criticizing his characters, or showing
syapathy to Ms characters, laiisfi^iafs mmrratw a
role and a Ms

characters. B u t , this is not the whole story. At times

Mansfield's narrator talks to the c h a r a c t e r s d i r e c t l y by

addressing them as 'you*. Look at the following excerpt from 'In

the Bay 1 :

Why does one feel so different at night? Why is it so exciting

to be awake when everybody else is asleep? Late — it is very
late! And yet every moment you feel more and more wakeful, as
though you were slowly almost with every breath, waking* up into a
new wonderful, far more thrilling and exciting- world than the
daylight one* And what is this queer sensation that you're a
conspirator? Lightly, stealthily you move about your room, you
take something off the dressing-table and put it down again
without a sound. And everything, "even the bed-posts, knows you,
responds, shares your secret ..»
You're not very fond of your room by day. ... But now *— it's
suddenly dear to you. It's a darling little funny room. It's
yours. Oh, what a joy it is to own things! Mine — my own!
'My very own for ever?1
'Yes, ' Their lips met.
'No, of course, that had nothing to do with it. That was all
nonsense and rubbish* But, in spite of herself, Beryl saw so
plainly two people standing in the middle of her room. Ser arms
were round his neck; he held her.
It is true when you are by yourself md you think about life, it
is always sad. All that excitement and so on has a way of
suddenly leaving you, %nd it's as though, in the silence,
somebody called yonr name,, md you heard your name for the first
time. "Beryl i f

'Yes, I'm here. I'm Beryl. Who wants me?1
'Beryl I '
'Let me come. '

It is lonely living by oneself, of course there are relations,

friends, heaps of them; but that's not what she means. She wants
someone who will find the Beryl they none of them know, who will
expect her to be that Beryl always. She wants a lower.

( Mansfield, 1983; 58-60 }

Past tense is used prior to this passage. The sudden shift of

tense from past to present implies that the author wants to adopt
a more intimate discourse here. Present tense conveys a sense of
immediacy. The narrator no longer keeps his character at a
distance. He even uses a second' person pronoun 'you* when he
addresses Beryl. The contractions 'you're 1 and 'It's* and the
vocabulary all nonsense and rubbish1 suggest an infernal style
and hence indicates the close relationship between the narrator
and the character. However, there is another shift of tense and
pronoun in the f i f t h paragraph. The narrator distances hiaself
from his character once again by referring to Beryl as 'she1 and
reporting the case in past tense. After this, the author shifts
the tense back to present and the pronoun back to the second
person. Finally, in the last paragraph, the tense remains
present, but the pronoun has once again shifted to the third
person 'she 1 , so the discourse in this paragraph is not the sane
as that in the previous paragraphs. The alternating shifting of
discourse implies that the relationship betweea the narrator and
the character is not constant. Sometimes the narrator is close
to the character and sometimes he keeps his character at a


Nevertheless, in both cases, i.e. the narrator directly

addressing the character as 'you' and the narrator referring to
the character as 'she', there still remains a gap between them.
As we have discussed in SECTION I, FIS is a narrative technique
that Mansfield adopts and the infiltration of voices is a result
of such a technique. In other words, the character is liberated
and able to express his view freely. The character thus holds a
similar status as the narrator and they both stand side by side
speaking their own minds and infiltrating into each other's
voices. For example, in the second paragraph of the previous
quotation, we hear the voice of the narrator talking to Beryl,
but all of a sudden towards the end of the paragraph, Beryl's
voice has already infiltrated into'the narrator's as indicated by
the change of pronoun into 'mine1 as in fOh, what a joy it is to
own things I! Mine my owni' The vocabulary "nonsense1 and
'rubbish1 is also Beryl's. The imaginary couple embracing each
other in the room is surely the imagination of Beryl's, not the
narrator's. So in the end we cannot distinguish who speaks in
the narrative. The narrator or the character? The relationship
has become so close that we cannot say who is more superior.

Some authors seldom consider the readers when they write and
they take for ganted that readers are always there receiving
their messages* Mansfield, OE the contrary, cares about the
existence of her readers. So her narrator often draws the
attention of the readers while narrating the story. For example,
the narrator of fThe Stranger* describes a crowd of people
waiting on tie wfcarf for the arrival of tie ship.*:

It seemed to the little crowd on the wharf that she was never
going to move again. There she lay, imense, motionless on the
grey crinkled water, a loop of smoke above her, an immense flock
of gulls screaming and diving after the galley droppings at the
stern. You could just see little couples parading ™ little
flies walking up and down the dish on the grey wrinkled
tablecloth. Other flies clustered and swarmed at the edge. Now
there was a gleam of white on the lower deck the cook's apron
or the stewardess perhaps. Now a tiny black spider raced up the
ladder on to the bridge.

( Mansfield,1983: 212 }

From the speculative verb 'seemed 1 and the modal adverb

'perhaps1, which emphasizes interpretation rather than factual
report, we can see the narrator serves as an observer at this
point of the narrative. The metaphors 'little flies1 and 'a tiny
black spider* further enhance the effect of speculation.
Everybody on the wharf is in fact wondering why the ship lies
motionless on the sea. The narrator directly addresses the
readers as 'you1 with a view to inviting the readers to join hia
as observers of the narative, So the readers are not excluded in
the discourse. Sometimes the narrator even asks the readers to
verify a certain thing as in 'Miss Brill', 'Miss Brill as glad
that she had decided on her fur* The air was motionless, but
when you opened your mouth there was just a faint chill, like a
chill from a glass of iced water before you sip, and now and
again a leaf came drifting — fro® nowhere, from the sky. Miss
Brill put up her hand and touched her fur. Bear little thing!
It was nice to feel it again.1 { Mansfield, 983: 184 )

readers 'you* are invited to play the role of judge to certify
that the weather is really freezing in order to show that Hiss
Brill's dicision of wearing the fur is correct. It 'The Singing
Lesson1, the narrator, whose voice is infiltrated into by a
character Miss Meadows, invites the readers 'you* to support his
criticism of another character, i.e. the Science Mistress in this

Miss Meadows, hugging the knife, stared in hatred at the Science

Mistress. Everything about her as sweet, pale, like honey. You
would not have been surprised to see a bee caught in the tangles
of that yellow hair.
( Mansfield, 198: 203 }

From the above examples, we can see the readers are often invited
to play a role in one way or another in the narrative discourse.
Thus, the relationship between the narrator and the readers is
quite close.

Besides the narrator's relationship with characters and

readers, the relationships between characters can also be
revealed through dialogues* In actual daily communication,
sometimes we cannot take the face value of an utterance into
account because it may appear to be incongruous with the rest of
the conversation. Instead, we have to consider the context both
linguistically and sociologically in which an utterance is
produced in order to grasp its real aeaning* iccordiag to I.P.
Grice, people have to follow certain rules whea they hold a

conversation and Gnce calls those rules .uaxias. There are
altogether five maxims: the co-operative principle, the aaxis of
quality, the maxim of quantity, the uaxia of relevance, the maxim
of manner. [4] But soiTietimes these maxims are not observed and
deliberately violated, thus producing an implicature, which is an
inference generated 'beyond the semantic content of the
sentences1 by the maxim ( Levinson, 1983:103 }, i.e. the real
meaning of the utterance. So the addressee has to be alert in
decoding the real meaning of the speech without being confused by
the apparently incongruous utterance. Moreover, for the sake of
politeness sometimes people employ certain strategies when they
speaker so as to give face to the addressee. By 'face1 here we
luccji 'basic wantsf, 'which every member knows every other member
dosir^s, and which in general it is in the interests of every
member to partially satisfy,1 ( Brown £ Levinson, 1987: 62 }.
There arc two kinds of face wants; positive face [5] and negative
face [6]. There are five face-saving strategies: ( i ) to do the
face threatening act bald on record [7] ( ii } to do the face
threatening act with redressive action oriented toward positive
politeness [8] ( iii } to do the face threatening act with
redressive action oriented towards negative politeness ( iv ) to
do the face threatening act off record [9] ( v ) do not do the
face threatening act ( Brown & Levinson, 1987: 69 }

Let us now apply the above theories of pragmatics to the

dialogues in some stories with a view to examining the
relationships of the characters. First, look at tie following
dialogue between Reginald and Anne in fHr. and Mrs, Dove1:
For tLe ^oj:c?;;t h* *7as COLSCIC^S ozly of tLc :L

too* to t^ar Us s^c^t cut cf LL^^lf a::J offer it to A±M.

'Znna, do you think you co^ld er^r Jure for »c?'
'No, never 212 thzt vzy. '

Anne faced Regi^ld. 'It isL*t that I'-j not awfully foxd of
you,' she saiJ. 'I ^. 3*t' — - he; ey*.s xid*s*d — *^ci zr>
the vay' — - a qaiver passed over h<=r f z c e ~ 'c+*e c+ght to la
fond of -— f Hcr lips parted, and she couldn't stop herself,
She began laaghiLg. 'There, you see, you see,1 she cried, 'it's
your check t-tie. E7en at this ^G*2e®t, when one would think oze
really would be solemn, your tie reminds me fearfully of the bow-
tie that cats wear in pictures! Oh, plc-as^ forgive ^c for being
so horrid, please 1 f
Reggie caught hold of h^r little war^ hand. 'There's no question
of forgiving you, ' he said quic&ly. 'How could there be? And I
do believe I knoz why I ^aiv you laugh. It's because you're so
far aLovc EG in every ;/ay tiat I a% somehow ridiculous. I see
that, AnLe. But if I were to --- '
*Nof no. ' Anne squeezed his land hard. 'It's not that. That's
all wrong. I'm not far above you at all. You're much better
than I an. You're marvellously unselfish and ... and kind and
'The nan I ^arry ---
"So you?' said Anne. fOhf I do hope you do ---- Isn't it fumy? I
aj5 say a£ytfai&g to y&i. I always Ji«irc been aile to from the

He tried to smile, to say *Ifia flad. ' She vent on. *I*ve newer
known anyone I like as much as J like you. ..* But I*M sure It's
nat what people and what J&oois mean when they talk aiout lore.
Do you iincferstaM? Oil,, if you only iney Jbov horrid J feel. But

we'd be like ... like Sr. and A'rs. Sore. ' ...
'Don't drive it i^, ' h= said and Le t^d ^ay frc_ A^e *zd
looked across the Ju »/;„....

7/o, don't. You «*'fr go yc? t, ' si* suid i^plori^Iy. T_ Jaii't
possibly go away £*eli^ 2i*c tiat. ' i.jf ^ stsr*J up at hi±
frowning, biting her lip,

'Oh, that's all riyht,' said 3*;jie, giving LUsalf a shake.

'I'll . . . I'll • z^d Le ^;^J Lis Land as ^ch as to say 'get
over i t * „
{ •*,f->-c^n-"'4 •*/"*, O T . 1 ^ 0 1 01 *
\ i*a**Si-.Ca.*0i, ,*. J 0. ^ * i.«O""J.J«. >

Ii;ne turi.3 Rcgir.ild dowr. in & sirc^igliforKi.-d tLoagL ^ bit

abrupt },^. Why docsr.'t stc cLcosc a higher number strategy,

which, would giv^ Reginald more fac«f for example, strategy 3 or
4? The situation is so imminent that she Las to put 'face1 aside

and choose a bald-on-record because she does net want to give

Reginald any false hope. And then, she laughs and offers a
reason 'it's your check t-tic1. Here the maxi^ of quality is

broken just because Anne is trying tc cover up her attitude

towards Reginald in order to give hiii face. However, Riginald

ignores the; Batter of face and continues to go bald-on-reccrd by

pointing out why Anne laughs at hi-i all the ti^e. Face is nc

longer important to him at this stage since he has already lost

it at the very beginning of the conversation. What he wants is

to verify whether his analysis is right. So he pushes lane to

ad^it it. But Amic still wants to give him face by breaking the

maxim of quality and answers, 'Ho, llo.f She than continues to

explain how much they understand each other. Reginald is

therefore forced to smile because he, too, wants to sate his face

at this stage, nevertheless, it is now Anne's turn to adept the
bald-oii-record strategy by comparing their relationship to that
of her doves. Maybe she misjudges Reginald's response and thinks
that he has really overcome the embarrassment and does act care
about fac<=. This tine it is Reginald who asks Anne not to be so
straightforward as he really wants to save his negative face.
Even towards the end, Reginald has to break the uaxi« of quality
in order to save his own face. Frc- this example, Ws= know
strategies of various sorts have to be employed in a dialogue if
tho characters want to naintain a cordial relationship.

Likewise, so^e characters who have an intimate relationship

50L*w-tijicS have to adopt so^e strategy if they do not want to
spoil their relationship. In 'The Stranger', the jealous llr.
HaLLaond questions his wife why she should be the one who helps
to save the life of the young man on beard the ship.

'But — why you, why you?' moaned Ha^ond*

At that Jarjey turned quickly, quickly saarchzd his face.
'You don't mind, John, do you?' she asked. 'You don't ™ It's
nothing- to do vith you and me. '
Somehow or oth^r he managed to jhakct som^ sort of smil£ at her.
Somehow or other he stammered: 'No— go on, go on! I want

you to toll me. r

f f
But, Join darling
'Tell mef Janay* *
'There's ootbinff to tell,* she said, wondering.
( Maasfiald, 1983; 229 )

ic^d, i.. jct^r;., by his w i f i , he his .ic chcic*.-
but to break the ...a:ci... cf ^lit hcca.Sc L*

m a n i p u l a t i n g c e r t a i n s t r a t e g i e s in a d i a l o g . e . Loci: at th
following extract fro:: 'The Young Girl 1 :

Tou doi^'t -ixiJ tzZi^j Hcn&ic?' s^id Hrs Saddle!:. 5urc you

don't? Tare's thc car, azd you'll have tea a;i«f ,YC 'JJ ia iacJ;

i^^^ oj] tiis .st^p right here — iij an hour. Yoa see, I want

her to go in. She's not &&*n before, and it's i/orth Scei&g. I

f&el it wouldn't Le fair to her. '

*CLt shut up, mother, ' said she ^^arily. "Co^ aJo*2^. Sc^'t

tall: so jjuji, ^:J yoar Jbaj's ope:«; yzj'll be losing all

The m o t h e r s^eiis t o t a k e t h e d a u g h t e r ' s s i t u a t i o n i n t o

consideration uhcreas the daughter is very rude and goes bald on

record.Froja the daugter's strategy, we can see how much she hates

her aother, so she has not thought of giving faca to .her aether

even in front of a stranger.

Tha conversation iatwean lazia and her grandma in "At the

Bay* demonstrates another kind of relationship.

"You 're not to die. ' Kezia was very decided.
'Ah, Kezia' her grandma looked up and sailed and shoos her
head 'don't let's talk about it. *

'But you're not to . You couldn't leave ae. You couida'r not 3e
there.' This was awful. 'Promise se you won't ever do it,
grandma, ' pleaded Kezia.
The old woman went on knitting.
'Promise me! Say never!f
But still her grandma was silent.
( Mansfield, 1983: 39 }

Grandma deliberately breaks the maxim of irrelevance when Kezia

brings up the topic of death because grandma knows very well that
Kezia is too young to understand death. Kezia insists, and
grandma is forced to break the maxim of quantity by remaining
silent. From their dialogue and grandma's strategies, we know
age divides people no matter how intimate their relationship is.
The gap between two generations is not easily bridged.

From the strategies and in the above dialogues, relationships

of different nature, i.e. cordial, intimate, antagonistic,
between speakers and addressees are revealed.





Out of fifteen stories, the main characters of ten stories

are female characters, and from the implied author's treatment of
the characters and the narrator*s comments we can see her
tendency to sympathize with female characters more than male
characters. For example, in 'Life of Ma Parker', Ma Parker says
in her own words: 'I've had a hard life.1 ( Mansfield, 1983: 146
) The narrator says that even the neighbours sympathise with her
by saying among themselves: 'She's had a hard life, has Ha
Parker.1 The narrator even gives his own comment on Ma Parker*s
attitude towards her life: 'And it was so true she wasn't in the
least proud of it. It was just as if you were to say she lived
in the basement-back at Number 27. A hard life!1 ( Mansfield,
1983: 146 } Towards the end of the story the narrator cannot
help showing his sympathy: 'Her misery was so terrible that she
pinned on her hat, put on her haciet and walked out of the flat
like a person in a dream- She did not know what she was doing.
She was like a person so dazed by the horror of what has happened
that he walks away — anywhere, as though by walking away he
could escape ..,' { Mansfield, 1983: 151-152 ) Perhaps we can
look at the implied author's treatment of characters in 'In the
Bay1, in which most of the characters who speak are females* The
implied author depicts the ainds and psyches of Linda and Beryl
in an exceptionally thorough and deep way. The techniques of
stream of consciousness and FIS are used. The narrator even
addresses Linda and Beryl directly by addressing them in second

person pronoun 'you1 as illustrated in the previous serticn. All
these show the narrator as veil as the implied author's concern
for the characters*

On the contrary, in a few stories the sain characters are

male characters, for example, Mr. Heave in 1 An Ideal Family %
Reginald in 'Mr. and Mrs. Dove', Mr. Hammond in 'The Stranger1
and William in 'Marriage a* la Mode', there are no traces of the
narrator's or the implied author's sympathy for these male
characters although the narrator does enter their minds and
attempt to give an internal view of their psyches* Sometimes the
narrator even criticizes his male characters as shown in the
following comment on Jonathan in 'In the Bay1:

At these times he exaggerated his absurd manner of speaking f and

he sang in church — he was the leader of the choir — with
such fearful dramatic intensity that the meanest hymn put on an

unholy splendour*
( Mansfield, 1983: 53 )

From the implied authorfs treatment of the male and female

characters, we can see her view on women's role in society.
Linda is perhaps a good example to illustrate this point.

It was all very well to say it was the common lot of women to
hear children. It wasn't true. She, for one, could prove that
wrong. She was broken, made real, her courage was gone, through

ild-be-zinj. .'.iJ yist ^de it do^ly izrd tc iear v&s, sL* did
t Jo.v Ji.-r jiiJJr*... rt ,-.j -^JL^ ^retciJJ-j. rra if ji«?

tragedy is that she cs.r*nc.i go Leycr*d herself ^s traditional If ;;e st^dy the Letters of Eithcri^c. ::^sfidd critter, tc
J. II. Kun-y, we will find Mansfield herself also loathes her role
oiS Cwi* * ell <L JLS^AA M.^. 1i 1, «. c - r c> L. 1. 11 1 « .u. IS 3. — f ** a, y S Ol* •« «^r **. I. I*u. »

Besides f^^^lcs, childr*... or^ uLoth^r g-ro^ of ^i-opl^ th^t

IlaLsfidd car^s «io^t. That is why they appear all the tisie in
her stories, for example, 'At the Bay 1 , 'The Garden Party1, 'The

Young Girl 1 , fThe Voyage1 and fThe First BA11'. Except 'At the
Bay 1 , the uain characters of these stories are childr^r* and the
stories arc told from the points of vie^ of children* For
example, as discussed before, 'The Voyage1 is a story filtered
through tha ayes of tha little girl Feaalla with the help cf soae
linguistic devices like verbs of sensation, so she is not touched
Ly the sadness of separation, which is a sentiment shared mainly
by adults. Even the rude girl in "The Young Girl"1 is treated in
a synpathctic light by the narrator and implied author. Towards
the end of the story, the narrator tells us the girl has
undergone so^e change and she speaks 'in a warn* aag«er voica1.
The description in the concluding paragaph shovs the narrator's

appraciaticn of the girl's change;

Her dark coat fell open, and her %iire throat — all her soft
young body in the blue dress •— was lile a flower that is j
emerging* from its dark bud.

{ Mansfield, 1983: 142 )

The colours 'dark', 'white1 and 'blue', and the simile 'a flower
... emerging from its dark bud1 tell us the girl's change is
surely an encouraging one.

After studying all the stories in this collection, we will

find that there is always a human touch in Mansfield's works.
Human relationship is a problem that puzzles Mansfield all the
time. Communication is never an easy task. Mansfield's
characters always have difficulties in communicating with each
other, for example, Linda and Stanley in 'At the Bay* Reginald
and Anne in 'Mr. and Mrs, Dove*, the rude girl and her mother in
'The Young Girl1, Isabel and William in 'Marriage a la Mode1,
Fenella and her grandmother in 'The Voyage1, Miss Meadows and her
boy-friend in 'The Singing Lesson', Mr. and Mrs. Hammond in 'The
Stranger1, Mr. Heave and his family in 'An Ideal Family1* Let us
examine the implied author's tret&ent of the discourse in
'Marriage a la Mode1. The first two-thirds of the story is
written from William's point of view. Then the point of view
gradually shifts to Isabel's in the remaining one-third of the
story. The readers are presented with the points of view of this
couple, which, however, never have a chance to interningle. It
implies that despite their status as husband and wife, filliaa
and Isabel scarcely have a chance to communicate and understand
each other's view. The story ends on a pessimistic note that

Isabel continues to pursue her new way, which means that she will
continue to use her discourse, which can in no way be intervoven
with Williamfs discourse. Communication is thus blocked.

Finally, from the discourse of certain characters, we can see

the implied author's philosophic view of life and death. Linda's
view of life is revealed in the following passage:

Dazzling- white the picotees shone; the golden-eyed marigold

glittered; the nasturtiums wreathed the veranda poles ingreen and
gold flame. If only one had time to look at these flowers long
enoughf time to get over the sense of novelty and strangeness,
time to know them! But as soon as one paused to part the petals,
to discover the under-side of the leaf, along came Life and one
was swept away. And, lying in her cane chair, Linda felt so
light; she felt like a leaf. Along came Life like a wind and she
was seized and shaken; she had to go. Oh dear, would it always
be so? Was there no escape?
( Mansfield, 1983: 32 }
From the figurative language of the passage we can see Linda
should find life beautiful. Life is ever new and one has to take
time to discover its novelty. Yet there is always a dark side —
'the under-side of the leaf1 — in life as well* The paradox of
life is something that one may not be able to bear. The
vocabulary 'wreathed* and the questions at the end of the passage
indicate Linda's pessimistic view towards life* The generic use
of the pronoun 'one1 three times implies the narrator or the
implied author wants to generalize the situation, whicb is not
confined to Linda alone but shared by many people* Like Linda,

Jonathan finds life unbearable.

'Tell me, mat is the difference between ^y life and that of

an ordinary prisoner? The only difference I can see is zhaz I
put myself in jail and nobody's ever going to let ze out. That's
a more intolerable situation than the other. ... I1^ like an
insect that's flown into a room of its ora accord, 1 dash
against the walls, dash against the windows, flop against the
ceiling, do everything on God's earth, in fact, except f l y our
again. And all the while I'j thinking, like that sotb, or that
butterfly, or whatever it is,"The shortness of life! The
shortness of life!" I've only one night or one day, and there's
this vast dangerous garden, waiting out there, undiscovered,
unexplored* '
{ Mansfield, 1983: 53-54 }

The use of parallelism and equivalence 'dash against ... flop

against', 'undiscovered .., unexplored f reinforces Jonathan * s

f e e l i n g o f being t r a p p e d i n l i f e . In c o n t r a s t r K e z i a ' s

grandmother, an old woman facing death, accepts life as it is.

In the FIS of grandmother when she is asked about her son's

death, we can clearly see her view of life and death:

'Does it make you sad to think about him, grandma?' She hated

her grandma to he sad.

It was the old woman's turn to consider. Did it make her sad?

To loot back, Jtecjr. Fo stare down the jears, as Kezzia had seen

her doing. To look after thex as a vosan does, long after they
were out of sight. Did ir zake her sad? So, life ¥as like that.
7/o, Kezia. '
( Mansfield, 1933:38 }

Therefore, from the narrator's discourse as well as the

characters' discourse, we can infer that the implied author is
more sympathetic to the females and children, and there are
traces of feminism in her ideas. Human relationships and the
philosophic question of life and death are her major concerns in
writing stories.

From the above analyses, we can derive certain

characteristics of the narrative discourse in Katherine
Mansfield's The Garden Party and Other Short Stories. First, it
is not simple but highly complex. Mansfield does not adopt a
single type of narrator, but two types, or to be more exact, a
combination of two types of narrator. Her perspective is not
one-dimensional. She explores the possibility of using various
perspectives: internal, psychological, multiple and spatio-
temporal. There is also a complexity of discourse structures;
foregrounding, structure of consciousness and sociolinguistic

Second, her narrative discourse is not static, but dynamic.

The narrator always shifts from one type to another. Owing to
the use of flashbacks and stream of consciousness, the spatial
order as well as the temporal order shift all the time. Besides,
because of the use of FIS and infiltration of voices, the point
of view shifts from one character to another. Thus, the reader
has to be vigilant if he wants to capture the dynamism of the

Third, Mansfield's narrative discourse is not explicit, but

subtle. Because of the psychological perspective and psychic
nature of the discourse, it is deemed to be subtle because human
psychology is never transparent, and human relationship is the
most subtle area in human behaviour.
Lastly, llan^fidd's narrative discourse is not incoherent,
but highly structured. The surface structure cf her discourse

indeed laclis organization, but there exist so*.*e embedded

patterns in the deep structure of the discourse., i.e. the
discourse structure. Three discourse structures are found in
Mansfield's narrative discourse: foregrounding, structure of
consciousness and sociolinguistic structure,

To conclude, in *-iew of the complex, dynamic, subtle and

highly structured characteristics of }:aLsfi^ldls narrative
discourse, the reader has to play an extremely active part in
decoding the discourse. Therefore, the participation of the
reader is essential. As a Batter of fact, the reader is
constantly invited by the narrator to talie part in his narrative


[1] By 'eventually* we do not mean in the course of Hansfield's

whole writing career, but we confine it to the development
within a story.
[2] L i i s a Dahl d e f i n e s it as: $tream~-of-consciousness
literature is identified by its subject-matier rather than
by its forms. The subject-matter is the "atmosphere of the
mind", the uninterrupted and endless flow of consciousness
of a character in a literary work* By consciousness is
meant the total range of awareness and emotive-mental
response of an individual, from the lowest pre-speech level
to the highest fully articulated level of rational thought.9
[3] Some people may argue that the shift from 'she* to 'I* in
the second paragraph does not indicate it is an FIS since
the ii-clause is followed by 'thought Beryl* , which means it
is a direct style. But the second passage contains two
choices: the narrator addressing Beryl at the beginning and
Beryl saying f Mine — my ownT towards the end. Here is a
typical example of FIS*
[4] Levinson: P.101
The co-operative principle
make your contribution such as is required, at the stage at
which it occursf by the accepted purpose or direction of the
tall: exchange in which you are engaged,
The maxim of Quality
try to make your contribution one that is true, specially:
(i) do not say what you believe to be false
(ii) do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence
The maxim of Quantity

(i) make your contribution 35 izror^aczve as is required
for the purposes of the exchange

(ii) do not make your contribution xore informative than is

The maxim of Relevance

make your contributions relevant

The maxim of Manner

be perspicuous, and specifically:

(i) avoid obscurity
(ii) avoid ambiguity
(Hi) be brief
(iv) be orderly'
[5] Brown & Levinson: P.62

"negative face: the want of every "competent adult member"

that his actions be unimpeded9by others.'
[6] Brown & Levinson: P.62
'positive face; the want of every member that his wants be
desirable to at least some others.*
[7] Brown & Levinson; P.68
An actor goes on record in doing an act A if it is clear to
participants what communicative intention led the actor to
do &*
[8] Brown & Levinson: P.69
'By redressive action we mean action that "gives face" to

tie addressee1
[9] Brown £ Levinson: P.69
'if an actor goes off record in doing Af then there is more
than one unambiguously attributable intention so that the
actor cannot be held to have committed himself to one

particular intent*f


A. Text

Mansfield, Katherine. The Garden Party and Other Short Stories. 1983.
England, Penguin.

B. On Katharine Mansfield

1, Caffin, Elizabeth. Introducing- Katherine Mansfield. 1982.

Auckland, Longman Paul.

2. Hanson, Clare, ed. The Critical Writings of Katherine Mansfield.

1986, London, Macmillan,

3* Murry, J. Middle ton, ed. Journal of Katherine Mansfield. 1954.

London, Constable & Co. Ltd.

4. Hurry, J. Middleton, ed. The Letters of Katherine Mansfield. 1929.

New York, Alfred A. Knopf.

C. On Stylistics
1. Booth, Wayne. The Rhetoric of Fiction. 1961. U. of Chicago Press.
2. Crystal, D . , & Davy, D, Investigating English Style. 1969.

3. Dahl, Liisa. Linguistic Features of the Stream-of'-Consciousness
Techniques of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Eugene O'Neill. 1970.

Turun Yliopisto.
4. Fowler, Roger, ed. Essays on Style and Language. 1966, Routledge

and Kegan Paul.

5* Fowler, Roger. Linguistics and the Novel. 1311. Methuea.
6, Fowler, Roger, Linguistic Criticism* 1986, Oxford 0. Press,
7, Fowler, Roger, Literature as Social Discourse. 1981, London,

Guilford and Worcester,

8, Leech, G.N., £ Short, H*H, Style in Fiction. 1981. Longman.

9. Page, Norman. Speech in the English Hovel. 19S3. 2nd Edition.
Hong Kong, Hacmillan.
10. Pratt, Mary Louise. Toward a Speech Act Theory of Literary
Discourse. 1977. Blooiaington, Indiana U. Press.
11. Todorov, Tzvetan. The Poetics of Prose. 1977, Blackwell.

D, On Sociolinguistics
1. Brown, P., & Levinson, 5.C. Politeness. 1987. England, Cambridge
U. Press.
2. Goffman, Erving. Forms of Talk. 1981. England, Basil Blackwell.
3. Levinson, S. Pragmatics. 1983. England, Cambridge U. Press.
4. Trudgill, P. Sociolingnistics: An Introduction to Language and
Society. 1983. England, Penguin.