Grieving in Katherine Mansfield’s “The Fly”
In Katherine Mansfield’s “The Fly” the boss’s inability to grieve for his son is presented in three incidents. When Woodifield mentioned the boss’s sonthe boss shows no reaction, only a “quiver in his eyelids” indicates his shock. After this the boss does not listen to Woodifield anymore, but gets carried away thinking about his son. It seems like hehas not thought about his son for a while and has forgot about him. The reader learns that the boss never visits his son’s grave in Belgium, although he has been already dead for six years. Going tohis grave would mean that the boss has to deal with his feelings towards his son’s death. After the test with the fly, the boss even forgets that he was thinking of his son. The fact that he easilyforgets that he was thinking of his son implies that the act of grieving is no more as prior to him as it used to be.
In the beginning the boss is described as a vital and content man, who is braggingabout the new interior design of his room. But after Woodifield mentions the boss’s son, he remembers how he learned of his death. He has put all his hopes on his son and after he died the bossbecame “a broken man”. His life seemed to break down. But now after six years he recovered from his son’s death. However, he does not understand how he could ever get over his son’s death even though hisson meant the world to him and he thought that he would always mourn for his son. So what really concerns the boss is his guilt because he feels like he recovered too quickly from his loss and keeps onliving his life.
In the course of the story the boss makes attempts to weep for his son with various techniques. In the first couple of years after his son’s death the boss only had to moan “Myson!” and then he would weep. But now he needs to “arrange to weep”. Weeping over his son seems to have become a technical routine without emotions for which he takes half an hour every now and then....
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