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”Ideal Wives”?: Domestic Objects and the Facade of Femininity in Kartherine Mansfield's Short Stories

By Ya-Ju Yeh


Sofa, carpet, dressing table, to name more─Katherine Mansfield always sets up a rich variety of domestic objects to create images of morden wives and family in her stories. Although domestic objects are nothing more than ordinary and everyday life objects, for Mansfield, they are not only generate a unique atmosphere of dramatic settings, but also give vivid forms to conflicts between family members, in particular the husband and the wife. The significance of domestic objects, for husbands and wives, quite differs. Putting Victorian domesticity which conventionally models the woman as “the angel in the house” into a great contrast, Mansfield delicately scrutinizes the implicit social and psychological tensions between husbands and wives through specific items or objects. Concentrating on Mansfield's three short stories, including Bliss(1918), Mr. Reginald Peacock's Day(1920), and Marriage a la Mode(1921), this paper suggests that domestic objects, in which a construction of femininity is embodied from male perspectives, represent the very facts and depths of the husband's frustration and loneliness in response to the wife's growing self-realization and self-awareness of her own freedom and agency

Topics: woman, object, domesticity, femininity, Kartherine Mansfield
Publisher: 臺中市:國立中興大學外國語文學系
Year: 2014
OAI identifier:

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