Two of Katherine Mansfield's most famous stories are "Prelude" and "At the Bay", both of them portraying a New Zealand family. Both stories, are revolving around the female characters, but the one link that connects all of them is Stanley Burnell, member and provider of the family.
The New Zealand critic Carl Stead affirms that Stanley Burnell is a 'benevolent despot' meaning that he is a kind person, and a tyrant in the same time. I agree with Stead affirmation, but as it seems somewhat incomplete, I would want to add a few words to it: Stanley character is benevolent but unconsciously despot.
Stanley is dynamic and doesn't like to rely on other people; he is eager to put down roots and settle down. He has no inherited wealth or special education; only his own intellect on which to rely. He is not only responsible for Linda and his children, but he has assumed responsibility for her mother and unmarried sister, Beryl.
He works hard and makes sacrifices to support his family. For example, when they are all on holiday in "At the Bay", Stanley catches the bus in to work .To have such a busy life, Stanley demands constant support from everyone else into covering his insecurities. He is not only looking for support, but he also expects for other people to try and achieve something on their own as he does. Because Beryl lacks money, Stanley expects her to try and work hard: 'By Jove, if she can't do a hand's turn occasionally without shouting about it in return for...'. Stanley does not finish his sentence, being not sure exactly what it is Beryl owes him. This shows that it became a routine for him to financially take care of everybody in the...