Modernism is the movement in art, literature, music, and architecture, and it is characterized by the fact that artists or writers did not use traditional themes or styles in their works. They tried to bring something new, interesting, and exciting in their poems, novels or pictures.
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Katherine Mansfield belongs to British modernist writers, and she is known for her short story The Daughters of the Late Colonel. Mansfield showed the theme of women’s behavior, what impact it has on their internal state of mind and their freedom in her story. The writer explores the deeper aspects of life, but does not speak only about the surface ofthe story (Childs 98).
There are two, but not one, protagonists in the story. They are two sisters (Josephine and Constantia). However, sometimes Mansfield refers to them as a single entity (they see the same things), there are almost no real actions, and symbols are used in different ways: ironically and in the form of actions (eNotes).
Katherine Mansfield shows two women in her story, who are not able to live full lives, because they are attached to their past, and even after their father is dead, they think that he would mind if they give his top hat to the porter. The writer masterfully portrayed these tragic fates by the use of flashbackks, a first-person narrative, and third-person pronouns not paying attention to the conventions of that time. She changes perspectives, and due to this readers have the possibility to understand characters of the main heroines, and can compare and contrast them (Lauber).
Katherine Mansfield’s short story is a great example of modernist style, which reveals the main theme of inability women to be independent from men and be socially free. The writer shows the lives of two sisters not in a traditional way, but with the help of their thoughts and memories, and this makes it so distinguishing among non-modernist literary works.
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