2About the Author Katherine Mansfield An outstanding short story writer. She was born in Wellington, New Zealand in She studied at Queens College, London, where she met D.H. Lawrence and John Middleton Murry, a famous critic, whom she later married. After years of ill-health and struggle as a freelance writer and reviewer, she achieved success with Bliss and Other Stories (1920) and The Garden Party (1922). Just as she won world fame, however, her health grew worse. She died of tuberculosis in 1923.
3About the Author Katherine Mansfield Critics praised her for her capturing the essence of Chekhov’s art for stories emphasizing atmosphere and actual life rather than exciting plot, and for her “refreshing originality” and “sensitivity to beauty”.
4About the AuthorNew Zealand's most famous writer, who was closely associated with D.H. Lawrence and something of a rival of Virginia Wolf. Mansfield's creative years were burdened with loneliness, illness, jealousy, alienation - all this reflected in her work with the bitter depiction of marital and family relationships of her middle-class characters. Her short stories are also notable for their use of stream of consciousness. Like the Russian writer Anton Chekhov, Mansfield depicted trivial events and subtle changes in human behavior.
5About the Text Main Idea This is a story about a young man and a young woman who had been lovers once and now meet again after six years of separation, and as they reminisce, we begin to know what happened six years ago that finally led to the end of their relationship. In the story, the author artfully points up Vera, the heroine’s sensitivity and the man’s insensitivity to others— their feeling, attitudes and motivations,and the man’s self-involvement.
6About the Text Word Study egoist: n.a person who is always thinking about themselves or what is best for themselves.egoism n.egoistic/egoistical adj.luxury n.sth that is expensive and enjoyable, but not essential,e.g. a luxury hotel/flat; live in luxury; live/lead a life of luxuryluxurious adj.
7About the Text Word Study exasperate: n.annoy, vex, irritate very much,e.g. She was exasperated at/by his stupidity.haunt: vi.to visit (said of ghosts) regularly;Here: to return repeatedly to the mind,e.g. a haunting melody
8About the Text Word Study maniac n.(1) mad person;wild and foolish person(2) (derog or joc) person with extreme liking(for sth)e.g. She’s a football maniac.maniacal adj : violently mad; extremely enthusiastice.g. maniacal behavior, a maniacal expression on his faceair n.appearance, manner, carriage,bearinge.g. She set about her task with an air of quiet confidence.
9About the Text Word Study grimace n.an ugly twisted expression on the face to cause laughter or to show pain,disgust,etce.g. Bernie gave a grimace of disgust and left the room.grimace vi ~ (at sb/sth)e.g. She grimaced in/with distaste a the thought of it.pagoda n.religious building on Asia, usu a tall tower with several stories each of which has its own overhanging roof
10About the Text Word Study infuriate: vt.make sb extremely angrye.g. I was infuriated by/with their constant criticism.It infuriated me to think of the money we’ve wasted.infuriating adj. very annoyinge.g. It was infuriating to be so close and get unable to contact them.melancholy: adj.very sad,causing sadnesse.g. A funeral is a melancholy occasion.
11About the Text Word Study impulsive adj.(of people or their behavior) marked by sudden action that is undertaken without careful thoughte.g. an impulsive man, comment, decisionIn a burst of impulsive generosity, I offered to pay.impulse n. (on impulse)impulsion n.impulsiveness n.
12About the Text Word Study barbarian: n.a person who is primitive or uncivilizedbarbaric/barbarous adj.barbarism n.barbarity n.decorate: vt.to put things in a room or house to make it more beautiful,e.g. We decorated the Christmas tree with tinsel lights.decorator n.decorative adj.decoration n.
13About the Text Word Study loathe: hate sth very muchExpansion: the synonyms of a word which arein meaning, e.g.to dislike (to loathe); to like (to adore); small (tiny);big (huge, enormous, immense, colossal);sure (positive); possible (probable);to surprise (to stun; to shock); angry (furious);hungry (famished); tired (exhausted);pleased (overjoyed); interesting (fascinating);many (numerous); fine (excellent; superb);poor (destitute); old (ancient)
14About the Text Word Study mysterious adj.1. full of mystery; hard to understand or explain,e.g. a mysterious event/crime2. Keeping or liking to keep things secrete.g. He was being very mysterious ,and wouldn't tell me what he was up to.mystery n.mysteriously adv.self-engrossed adjoccupied with one’s own thoughts or interest; paying no attention to anything other than one’s own business
15About the Text Expressions peel an orange:take off the peel of an orangeto peel potatoes; to husk the rice; to shell the peas;to wed the garden; to skin a cat; to gut the fish;to dust the tablesYou were saying:an expression used to encourage someone you just interrupted to continue to speakthis thick of his:more emphatic than “ his trick”,e.g. “ look at that son of yours,” the husband shoutedat his wife, “ he stinks!”
16About the Text Expressions for all: in spite of all,e.g. (1). For all our efforts, we still couldn't’t save his life.(2). For all his power,he is still the most despised person.out of all proportion to the occasion:(1).completely uncalled for; totally unnecessary under the circumstances(2).a reaction, result, emotion, etc that is out of proportion is too strong or great, compared to the situation in which it happen.e.g. The fear of violent crime has now out of proportion to the actual risk.
17About the Text Expressions find one’s place in life:to find a successful careerapart from:some distance away fromcompare: Apart from (Besides) these reasons, there is yet another factor.mournful lover:sad lovers whose greatest wish is to die together
18About the Text Sentence Paraphrase 1. But now,as he spoke,that memory faded. His was the truer. (para 15)But now, as he spoke, that memory about the ridiculous scene gradually disappeared. After all, his memory was the truer one. They did have a good time on the whole that afternoon.2. He had lost all that dreamy vagueness and indecision. Now he had the air of a man who has found his place in life.At that time, the man was much younger, full of dreams,very unpractical, very unclear about what he should do with his life. But now he looked like a man sho has found a successful career.
19About the Text Sentence Paraphrase 3. As he spoke,…she felt the strange east that had slumbered so long…hungry stare upon those places.“ The strange beast” probably refers to her long-cherished wish to travel to all those distant and mysterious places. It had been hidden deep in her heart for quite a long time because it was impossible for her to realize it given her financial and health conditions. But now this old wish seemed to be suddenly awakened.
20About the Text Sentence Paraphrase 4. Only I did desire, eventually, to turn into a magic carpet and carry you away to all those lands you longed to see.a) magic carpet: The allusion comes from the story in the Arabian Nights which describes how a magic carpet can carry people wherever hey wish to go.b) Once again we see the other side of the man. He can sometimes say beautiful things.
21About the Text Sentence Paraphrase 5. As he spoke she lifted her head as though she drank something; the strange beast in her bosom began to purr…She had just heard something which was so comforting and refreshing that she felt good. Her long buried love for the man seemed to wake up again.
22In-class Discussion Questions on Comprehension & Appreciation What was Vera and the man’s relationship six year’s ago?What happened to Vera and the man respectively during the past six years?
23In-class Discussion Read for Details: “She smiled, he frowned.” Why? (para. 2)She smiled because she was very glad to see her old friend. He frowned because he could not place her. He could not recall where he had met this women before.
24Read for Details2. What could Vera have seen in the man that made him not without attraction? (para 30)For one thing, he was young, energetic, most likely good looking. And he could sometimes say things that were extremely touching to Vera.
25Read for Details 3. Why do you think Vera sold the piano? (para 42) There seems to be only three possible reasons: One, she lost interest because there was no one to appreciate her music; Two, she had to go from place to place, chasing after warm sunshine, and therefore found it impossible to carry the piano with her; Three, she was financially hard up and needed money.
26Read for Details 4. “You are not going?” (para 53) a) Why did Vera suddenly begin to unbutton her collar again and draw down her veil?b) What had the man said to hurt her feelings?
27Read for Details Possible Answers 4. (a). It indicates that Vera was going to leave.(b). The ma said “It seems such ages ago” whereas it was only 6 years, showing that he had practically forgotten everything about their past love; The man also said that he had to take such a leap to that time, showing again that he had ceased to cherish that memory. What hurt her most however, was the way he described how he couldn't help laughing the other day when he read her last latter again, the letter she must have found it very difficult to write six years ago. He practically treated the whole thing as a joke.
28In-class Discussion Read for Details-Question 5. “It simply was that we were such egoists, so self-engrossed, so wrapped up in ourselves that we had not a corner in our hearts for anybody else.” Is this a pretty accurate description of the man himself? Do you think Vera is just like the man?
29Possible AnswersRead for Details5. It is just a pretty accurate description of the man himself. He is making an important confession: he really has not a corner in his heart for anyone else. Therefore Vera was right to leave him 6 years ago and she is also right to leave him now.
30After-class Questions 1. Why does Vera’s relationship with the man end the way it did? Is it a natural development? Why or why not ?2. Do you agree with that both he and Vera are such hopeless egoist that they haven’t a corner in their hearts for anybody else?