The dinner party provides us with an opportunity to observe the characters as their true feelings are suppressed by the social constraints of the event. Once they have left, Bertha collapses in a chair and asks what is going to happen now. But at this point the story ends: as with many modernist narratives, we are left literally with a question at the end, the implication being that life more often presents us with unanswered questions than it does easy solutions or neatly tied-up loose ends.
The pear tree suggests these connotations but clouds them, making it difficult for us to know for certain how we should interpret or analyse its significance in the story. But pears are altogether more succulent, luscious, and voluptuous than apples, so Mansfield combines sexual temptation with more general ideas of sin and forbidden knowledge. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Email Address. Does this count as a book?
Feel a bit of a fraud even calling it a "read book. Sep 15, Helen rated it it was amazing.
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I reviewed this book previously and gave it a five. Aug 23, Phyllis Mann rated it really liked it. Awsome I really love the first 2 books of French kissing. I also like the other short stories in the book that I read. I hope to eventually get the full books I just read. Apr 14, C C Garrison rated it it was amazing. I love the way the characters are brought together. Getting ready for a binge reading night.
Jk rated it liked it Mar 29, Elin rated it really liked it Jun 25, Marta rated it really liked it Dec 11, Linda Clevenger rated it it was amazing Oct 26, Castillo rated it liked it Nov 09, Alicia Caballero rated it liked it Aug 30, Jude rated it it was amazing Jul 08, Elske rated it really liked it Jul 28, Lorraine Rusnack rated it it was amazing Mar 25, Angela rated it really liked it Aug 27, Mary Hennessy rated it it was amazing Jul 06, Angela rated it really liked it Mar 09, Rafiya rated it really liked it Dec 13, Rachel Casteel rated it it was amazing Sep 14, Floyd Ryan rated it it was amazing Nov 02, Julie Leonard rated it it was amazing Sep 08, Shpak rated it it was ok Apr 10, Were they used recreationally in England in the early 20th century?
New Zealand has its own varieties of magic mushrooms endemic to New Zealand. Surely at some point someone tried an hallucinogenic mushroom and discovered its powers by accident. Unlike Chinese people, say, for whom mushroom is an important part of the diet. In pre-Internet days these things took a while. Plus, New Zealand was always England focused rather than America focused until about then.
Wellington is said to be magic mushroom capital of New Zealand and would have been the perfect place for Bertha to experiment with psilocybin.
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- Bliss (short story)!
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This housewife seems high on something. But this, I agree, is not permissible.
“Bliss” and “The Garden Party” – Modernism Lab
Hormones can do it. Bertha is a thirty-year-old housewife but she has not yet come of age. She has yet to experience sexual awakening.
Her name is literal and symbolic: Bertha Young. Bertha is likely bisexual, as was Mansfield. This is Bertha trying to make sense of her attractions. Mansfield is known for her Freudian themes. Why be given a body if you have to keep it shut up in a case like a rare, rare fiddle?
Bliss by Katherine Mansfield
The question is, why not? Oftentimes Bertha cannot finish her next sentence and allows herself to be distracted. Perhaps the reality of her life is too uncomfortable. Take the first paragraphs. Bertha speaks as if observing herself from a distance. Her words are not her own. She thinks one thing then immediately edits herself, as if observing herself taking part in some drama. Her words are simply a collection of quotations, gleaned from elsewhere. The broken syntax — full of dashes and exclamation marks — make the language seem faux- spontaneous, like someone thinking out loud, or like someone doggedly determined to live in the moment and therefore avoid putting uncomfortable pieces of evidence together… the husband late home, who arrives at the same time as Pearl….
Some have said the pear tree is a phallic symbol. I may have gone awol on a psilocybin interpretation, but I think this is a bit of a stretch. Almost everything can be phallic in literature. The flowering of the tree could symbolise the flowering of her sexual feelings.
Harry Joy’s Children: The Art of Story Telling in Peter Carey’s ‘Bliss’
Later in the story, the sun image is linked to the moon via a candle metaphor. This suggests prelapsarian innocence — i. Lapsarian refers to the Fall of Man — a Calvinist idea.
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Bertha is young, naive and perhaps repressing the reality that her husband and friend are in love. Bertha wants to enjoy a dinner party surrounded by interesting friends, and by one friend in particular — a beguiling young woman. Character webs become more interesting when opponents and allies are not who they at first appear to be. Bertha thinks Pearl is an ally, but it is eventually revealed that she is a firm romantic opponent.