A Dill Pickle

The Author | Art Exhibition | Story Elements | Review | Work Cited

Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield and her siblings.
Katherine Mansfield, was born on October 14, 1888, in Thorndon, Wellington. She lived with her parents, her grandmother, two teenage aunts, and her three sisters whose names were Vera, Charlotte, and Jeanne. Later, her family moved to Chesney Wold and her brother, Leslie, was born. Her family moved back to the town and lived in an even bigger house. Mansfield went to Wellington’s Girls’ College and then she went to Miss Swainson’s Private School. In 1903, the oldest three girls went to Queen’s College in London to finish off their education. At Queen’s College Mansfield continued playing the cello and she contributed to the literary life of the college. She decided that her professional name should be “Katherine Mansfield” started to write a novel named Juliet,which she never finished writing. While she attended Queen’s College she also made trips to Europe where she met Ida Baker, who ended up being a very close friend to Mansfield. When Katherine and her two sisters returned home to Wellington in 1906, they had yet a larger home and even a holiday cottage where Mansfield a lot of her time writing and was also a setting of one of her stories, At the Bay. After a while Katherine got bored of living at Wellington and wanted to return to Europe to become a writer. After she had some of her work published in a magazine titled the Native Companion, her father allowed it. While in London she married an older man, George Bowden, who was a singing teacher, but they split up soon after. Later she met John Middleton Murry, who she later married. Leslie, her brother, was sent to train as an officer for the First World War and was killed in October of 1915.
I'm treating you as a friend asking you to share my present minuses in the hope that I can ask you to share my future pluses.
- Katherine Mansfield
Failing heath made her go back to Bandol and she wrote Je ne parle pas francais and she started to write Bliss. When Bliss and Other Stories was published it add to her approval as an author. In May, 1918, Mansfield married Murry and they moved to a house in Hampstead, London which was referred to as "The Elephant." In October Katherine came down with tuberculosis and she had to stay at a sanatorium. She wasn't allowed to spend anymore of her winters in London. In 1919 Murry became the editor of The Atheneum and Katherine helped by reviewing some books for it. By autumn she was so sick though, that she went to Ospedaletti, Italy and her friend Ida Baker joined her. While she was in Italy she wrote 8 stories, inclusive of Miss Brill and The Daughters of the Late Colonel. Katherine then traveled to Paris in search of a better treatment for her tuberculosis. While in Paris she wrote her last two stories, The Fly and The Canary. On October 16, 1922 she entered the Harmonious Development of Man at Avon in search of a phyiscal and mental cure so she could recover more fully. When her husband visited her on January 9, 1923 she died of a haemorrhage and was buried in Avon.

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Katherine Mansfield Paintings Exhibition

http://img.scoop.co.nz/stories/images/0311/0f16c3691d80fcd0a3db.jpegSusan Wilson depicted Katherine Mansfield's stories in 9 oil paintings that were on display in the WEL Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts at Waikato University in 2004. Wilson endorsed the commission from the Folio Society to paint Mansfield's stories for it's millenium edition. They took a poll for the best books of the twentieth century and Katherine was number one in the category for short stories. She tried to convey the emotions in Mansfield's stories with vibrant colors and compassion in the paintings. She not only referenced Mansfield's stories but also her life by reading all of her letters, art history, and her fond memories of her home country, New Zealand. Wilson picked her favorite quote from each of the stories and tried to portray them in one of the paintings.

For more information on the exhibition,
click here.

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Story Elements


A woman, Vera, sees a man that she hasn't seen in six years. They used to have a relationship together but Vera didn't really like him because he kind of annoyed her. He brags about how he went and visited every place that they said they would go visit together and tells her that he still has to go to China. She starts to think about why she didn't like him because he was kind of making it seem that at one point he had been in love with her and that it could happen again. He kills it by saying that it can never be like that just like it didn't work six years ago. He says that they are both too self-centered.


A café, in England, with tables decorated with Japanese vases filled with paper daffodils.


A woman who meets a man again that she hasn't seen for 6 years and he mocks her.


I think that the theme in this story is that if you had a relationship with someone before and it didn't really work, you probably shouldn't try it again. You will probably have the same problems as last time and it won't work out.


The tone of this story is sarcastic and cynical. The man is sarcastic and Vera is cynical of his words to her. She can't tell if he is being sincere or mocking her so she can't really trust what he is saying to her.


The mood of this story goes from a feeling of surprise from seeing a person you haven't seen in so long to a feeling of missing a loved one to just pure annoyance.


I think that Mansfield's style of writing in this story could best be described as ornate.

If you would like to read the story for yourself, click here.

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http://www.cricketscandlecompany.com/pickle%20spears.jpgI personally think that this story is very good. I liked how you couldn't really tell if the man was being sarcastic or not, and how the woman fell for it. I also love how once she realized what the man was doing she just got up and walked away without saying a word. I would have done the same thing, and I think a lot of other people would have too, so you can relate to how the woman was feeling. I also like how the woman tries to invision the stories that the man is telling her about on his journeys to other countries. I would recommend this book to other readers, and I would deffinately read other stories by this author. I just love the way that she puts this story together.

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Works Cited


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