Analysis Of Katherine Mansfield 's ' Daughters Of The Late Colonel '

993 Words Oct 30th, 2016 4 Pages
In this extract of Daughters of the Late Colonel, Katherine Mansfield portrays to the reader her personal insights and intolerance of the patriarchy that dominated the Late-Victorian period. She particularly focuses on the entrapment and isolation women faced living in this social hierarchy, and expresses this through subtle manipulation of literary devices such as character, motif, imagery and symbolism, cast in almost satirical light that resonates throughout the entire story.

Mansfield explores thoroughly the relationship between the two sisters, Josephine and Constantia, and the father they have recently lost. The title of the story immediately suggests to the reader the nature of this relationship; implying the ownership and authority the father holds over his daughters even after his death. Through free-indirect discourse, the narrator conveys in this passage Josephine’s irrational fear of burying her father “without asking his permission” which, reinforced by the father’s imaginary use of the term of address “girls” and the way Josephine instinctively feels the need to make an “excuse” for their behaviour, clarifies that the relationship is an oppressive one. The likening of two, apparently sensible, middle-aged women to guilty children conveys the power their father exerted over them in a somewhat comical way, offering the reader an insight into the severely patriarchal chain of command in Victorian households.

The Colonel’s oppressive presence clearly haunts his…

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