"A Woman at the Store" and "Frau Brechenmacher Attends a Wedding" by Katherine Mansfield: How does Katherine Mansfield use location to tell a story?

Essay by nzmickyUniversity, Bachelor'sA, October 2006

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Katherine Mansfield used not only characters but location to tell a story. In both of her short stories 'A woman at the store' and 'Frau Brechenmacher attends a wedding', the locations are very important to the characters and theme of the story and so are presented in a very detailed way to truly convey Mansfield's ideas to the reader.

In Mansfield's short story 'A woman at the store', a woman has been broken by marriage, childbearing and isolation. In the opening scene, the reader is confronted by many uncomfortable hostile images, the horse "had an open sore and looked as if she were going to cry", and the land was "dry and dusty" connoting desperation. The crows "shrilling" added to the hostile environment and discomfort was emphasised with the characters being "tired", "slashed" and "chaffing". When Jo, his sister and Hin finally reach their destination, it doesn't get any better.

They are met by a woman who has had her "teeth knocked out" and was waving a rifle "frantically" with "red pulpy hands: personifying the desperation of the location.

In "A woman at the store" the location is terribly important as the woman had been isolated from society and felt so helpless and alone. She had been beaten by her husband so badly that she had had "four miscarriages... If you was back at the Coast I'd 'ave you lynched for child murder" but out in the desert she was all alone with no one to help her. Her house is filled with flies, everything was "dead and decaying" just like her sanity out there all alone. She got to a point where she couldn't take the abuse any longer, couldn't see a way out, so she shot her husband and buried him in the back yard. The reader gets...