Something Childish But Very Natural

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by Katherine Mansfield

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  • Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. "An early practitioner of stream-of-consciousness narration, she applied this technique to create stories based on the illumination of character rather than the contrivances of plot."
  • Something Childish But Very Natural

    1. 5. Henry- He is almost 18 years old and works in an architect's office. Edna- She is 16 years old and goes to a training college to be a secretary. Her mother Is Hungarian .
    2. 6. Plot summary At a train station, Henry looks at books and comes upon Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem. Then he jumps onto the train as he is late, and has left his portfolio behind. On the train, he starts talking to a girl, until she tells him she will be there again every evening. On the following Saturday, he goes to the station and sees her; they get on the train and start talking like old friends. Later, they go to a concert, and she appears somewhat distant. They walk down the streets of  London  and come upon a pretty village nearby. There, they visit a house and decide to rent it. Then Henry receives a telegram, and things fall apart.
    3. 8. Something Childish, but very Natural If I had but two little wings And were a little feathery bird, To you I’d fly, my dear! But thoughts like these are idle things, And I stay here. But in my sleep to you I fly: I’m always with you in my sleep! The world is all one’s own. But then one wakes, and where am I? All, all alone. Sleep stays not, though a monarch bids: So I love to wake ere break of day: For though my sleep be gone, Yet while ’tis dark, one shuts one’s lids, And still dreams on.
    4. 16. The text is written in the  modernist  mode, without a set structure, and with many shifts in the narrative.
    5. 17. <ul><li>The center is on mental life (impressions, feelings, sensation, thoughts and emotions) and not on interpreting such. </li></ul><ul><li>With few details to convey sensory impressions left by an incident or case. </li></ul><ul><li>The characters, scenes, actions are portrayed from an explicitly subjective point of view of reality. </li></ul>
    6. 18. Why is “Something Childish but Very Natural” an Impressionistic story? It focused on the main characters’ (Henry and Edna’s) feelings or emotions, thoughts, and sensations. Most of the short story was descriptive – a description of the scene, incident, the characters’ mental life. It was described by the author from the point of view of the characters, hence, from a subjective point of view of reality.
    7. 19. <ul><ul><li>“ How beautiful she is! How simply beautiful she is !” sang Henry’s heart , and swelled with the words, bigger and bigger and trembling like a marvellous bubble – so that he was afraid to breathe for fear of breaking it. (p. 3) </li></ul></ul>

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