The Character of Boss in "The Fly" Essay

Words: 910
Pages: 4


Katherine Mansfield’s short story The Fly is taken from the collection 'Dove’s Nest' and inspired by her dear brother Leslie’s death, it is one of her finest short stories. The Fly is the story of a person haunted for six years by the death of his son. It is the depiction of anguish. Mansfield’s technique in her stories was to make her characters show their thoughts by a kind of mental soliloquy ‘fluttering, gossipy, breathless with questions and answers.’ Moreover like Lawrence she creates an intense atmosphere through suggestive details. The character of the Boss in the story The Fly is represented through dialogue, monologue and symbolism. These are the three clear cut sections
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He had been loved by the office staff and he was not spoilt. But one telegram carrying the news of his son’s death had crashed his world. All this Mansfield narrates to bring out the depth of hurt in Boss and the intensity of his loss. It helps us understand the Boss’ emotions. But now after six years he could not recall his emotions. This was causing him further agony.

At this moment a fly falls in to the inkpot in front of the Boss. Somehow it clambered out. But then the Boss had an idea. He dropped ink over the fly again and saw it struggle. He admired the insect’s pluck. From this point onwards the Boss starts paralleling the plight of the fly with that of his son. Perhaps his son too had struggled like that on the battlefield. The Boss dropped another drop on the fly. He wanted to see what would happen. His son had not escaped death. The Boss becomes God here. He refuses to let the fly live. The fly drops dead on the blotting paper. Then the Boss realizes the loss. It was the loss of his son. In agony he asks for fresh blotting paper. He could not remember what he was thinking about. He is reduced to the state of Woodifield. It is a highly complex mind that we encounter. It is left to the reader’s imagination to interpret what he is thinking. The Boss emerges as a pitiable character with a wound nobody can