Symbolism Of Symbolism In Katherine Mansfield's The Fly

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Katherine Mansfield’s “The Fly” (1922) revolves around three individuals who are connected in one way or another. This short story starts with old Mr Woodifield described as retired and feeble. However the Boss, 5 years older than Mr Woodifield, seems far more energetic and stable at the beginning. The Boss boasts his office complacently by presenting his new decorated furniture. He and Mr Woodifield have memories of their lost sons in World War 1. The story continues with the Boss left alone in his office desperately trying to weep. He cannot express his feelings and fails to cry.
After finding a fly in his inkpot he decides to torture the innocent animal until it finally dies. In “The Fly” death symbolizes the Boss’s inability to grieve, his son as youngest victim, and
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The idea of an
“caged bird” can be also seen in Manfield’s other story “Mr and Mrs Dove”, which is similar to the fly captured in the inkpot here. While the Boss cheers and almost awaits the fly to keep on fighting for its life, he is a giver and receiver of fate according to
Greenwood (page 181). Yet,the action of him the dripping ink from above makes it impossible for the fly to survive. This shows that even the most innocent fly gets its wings “clipped”. The fly wipes its wings clean and not giving up fights to survive with all its energy. Yet the desired freedom of escaping is not as simple as it may seem at first.
Greenwood states that Manfield aspires to embody the “bitter sweetness of existence”
(Greenwood, 180). Throughout the entire story life’s confinements are visible
(Greenwood, 182).
One can never know when death shows up in everyday life. While some may have difficulties with expressing one’s grief it is best to remember that unpleasant emotions one would rather oppress are part of life. The Boss most definitely will not

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