The Little Governess Katherine Mansfield Analysis Essay

Interestingly, both of these stories feature female protagonists who are variously trapped in positions of poverty, dependence and oppression of various types. Note how in "The Little Governess" the protagonist is only travelling at night because the lady at the Governess Bureau had said that she must. She spends an awkward time, desiring company but at the same time she clearly does not know how to handle the porter that tries to take her bag and then demands payment or the group of men in the carriage next to her who ask her to join them:

Suddenly from the corridor there came a stamping of feet and men's voices, high and broken with snatches of loud laughter. They were coming her way. The little governess shrank into her corner as four young men in bowler hats passed, staring through the door and window.

Note how the governess "shrank" into her corner. Likewise, when her elderly companion forcibly kisses her, she finds it repugnant. All of these events combine to present us with a woman who is stifled in every sense: physical, sexual and psychological.

"The Tiredness of Rosabel" presents us with another woman subject to the forces of poverty and class distinction. Rosabel is introduced to us as being hungry and not having enough to eat. However, as she returns to her home from work and in lying down in her apartment, she becomes transfixed by a memory of a particular couple that she served, and especially the man:

How handsome he had been! She had thought of no one else all day; his face fascinated her; she could see clearly his fine, straight eyebrows, and his hair grew back from his forehead with just the slightest suspicion of crisp curl, his laughing, disdainful mouth. She saw again his slim hands counting the money into hers... Rosabel suddenly pushed the hair back from her face, her forehead was hot... if those slim hands could rest one moment... the luck of that girl!

It is clear that Rosabel intensely desires male companionship, and yet, because of her poverty, solitude and social background, all she can do is be with him in her fantasies, which she does in the rest of the tale.

Thus both of these stories present us with women who are variously trapped in different ways: by their social background, by their position, by their lack of resources, which results in them being inhibited sexually.

“The little governess” Katherine Mansfield
The story under discussion is written by Katherine Mansfield. The story is taken from the collection of her best stories which was republished in 1981. Even before she died at the age of thirty-four Katherine Mansfield had achieved a reputation as one of the most talented writers of the modern short story in English. Mansfield was recognized as innovative, accessible, and psychologically acute. Her language was clear and precise; her emotion and reaction to experience carefully distilled and resonant. Her use of image and symbol were sharp, suggestive, and new. Her themes were various: the difficulties and ambivalences of families and sexuality, the fragility and vulnerability of relationships, the complexities and insensitivities of the rising middle classes, the social consequences of war.        

Perhaps something central about Mansfield's emotions in the difficult, unstable, defiant, lonely, searching years from 1908 to the end of 1911 is visible in "The Little Governess," which was apparently written shortly before its publication in early 1915.

The title of the story has a direct reference to the content of the story. It contains a folded plot and the main idea of the story. Because the aim of it’s to send especial message to the reader. The definite article shows that the definite girl is described and this fact is very important for the plot development. The story is given through the eyes of the narrator. Because Katherine Mansfield narrates the story herself. She is invisible but she is easily felt behind the lines. The plot is easy to follow, the language is clear cut. There is no dramatic events, because no one is killed. There are many events, because the actions are not limited by a closed area. There is no introduction, but there is the main part where the writer introduced the protagonist - a young Englishwoman on her first trip alone to the Continent, where she was to meet in Munich the employer...

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