Monday, April 28, 2008

Reader's Diary #352- Katherine Mansfield: The Fly

Short Story Monday

Katherine Mansfield's "The Fly" seems preoccupied with one idea: transference. A couple characters pass their emotions along until finally it gets to the fly, the hapless victim who absorbs and condenses all the negativity into a single black blot.

Mansfield captures the chain involved in transference not just through the plot itself, but also through shifts in character focus. At first the story seems to be about old Mr. Woodifield, a man retired after a stroke who is perhaps bitter that his old boss is still able to work, able to renovate his office, able to drink whisky. Before long Mr. Woodifield reminds the boss of a certain tragedy, and the story then becomes his (the boss's) story).

Upon the exit of Mr. Woodifield, the boss begins to wallow in the emptiness of his own life. But, just before breaking down into tears, a new victim presents itself and the game continues.

I enjoyed "The Fly" very much, even if it wore its psychology on its sleeve.

The Soundtrack
1. Build It Up, Tear It Down- Fatboy Slim
2. Tears In Heaven- Eric Clapton
3. Pressure Drop- Toots and the Maytals
4. Greedy Fly- Bush
5. Paint It Black (Rolling Stones cover)- Pascal Comelade


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'll certainly return to read this. The transference idea is engaging, sort of has a karmic appeal.

Teena in Toronto said...

Sounds intriguing!

Hi! I just finished #11 in the Great Canadian Book Challenge: