Katherine Mansfield Analyse How Actions Or Dialogue Helped You Understand The Character Of Frau Brechenmacher("Frau Brechenmacher Attends A Wedding")And Mrs Sheridan("The Garden Party")

1133 words - 5 pages

In Katherine Mansfield's "Frau Brechenmacher Attends a Wedding" and "The Garden Party", two female characters in similar positions- the position of mother and wife- are described. Despite their shared role, the two women - Frau Brechenmacher and Mrs Sheridan- are two very different individuals and their characteristics are understood through Mansfield's careful depiction of their actions and dialoguesIn the short story "Frau Brechenmacher Attends a Wedding", the Frau is a woman worn down by domestic work. Her daily life consists of taking care of her five babies, and attending to her dominant husband. Throughout the story Frau Brechenmacher is constantly servicing her husband. Before the wedding, she polished and ironed his outfit, and prepared water and towel for him to wash his face with as soon as he return home. After the Herr has dressed, the Frau groomed him, 'straining at the waist buckle and giving him a little pull here, a little tug there.' She also rushed to put her children to bed and dress herself. Frau Brechenmacher is suppressed by the needs of her husband and family. She dresses in the dark because her husband 'needs the light.' 'She had not been out of the house weeks past' being so busy with caring for the family. The busy works of the day 'flurried her that she felt muddled and stupid' the writer describes the stress effect of the lack of power the Frau suffers from. After the wedding , she returns home from a tiring day only to again service her husband, ' prepar[ing] a little supper of meat and bread for her man' and ' taking up the discarded boots' which the Herr had ' flung[ed]...into a corner', ' placing them on the over to dry.' Lastly, before she sleeps, she checked her babies and 'stripped the mattress off the baby's bed to see if he was still dry.' Clearly, Frau Brechenmacher's life is consumed by caring for her family and she is exhausted by it, her hands 'roughened'. However, she does not rebel against the hold of domestic work on her. When the Herr returns home and rudely complained impatiently, the Frau accepts it and calmly continued to service him, '"they are all ready for you on the table, and some warm water in the tin basin..."'This dialogue reflects the Frau's submissiveness.Mansfield also features Frau Brechenmacher as a woman that is self-conscious and lacking confidence and power. As she enters the wedding, the Frau 'straightened her brooch and folded her hands, assuming the air of dignity becoming to the wife of a postman and the mother of five children.' She is mindful of other's perception of her. The Frau did not dance but watched while 'her roughened hands clasped and unclasped themselves in the folds of her skirt. While the music went on she was afraid to look anybody in the face, and she smiled with a little tremor round the mouth.' The Frau, trapped inside her home by domestic work, is afraid in the outside world and in the face of the society. She has no support -her husband abandons her to join...

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