Katherine Mansfield's Divided Self: In-Betweenness and Displacement in “Prelude,” “At the Bay” And “The Garden Party”.
Katherine Mansfield is often regarded as a Modernist writer because of her formal experimentations in her short fiction. However, because of her culturally hybrid identity, her work can be seen as postcolonial. This thesis examines how Katherine Mansfield’s hybridity is evident in her short stories “Prelude,” “At the Bay,” and “The Garden Party.” It focusses on three characters: Linda Burnell and Beryl Fairfield in “Prelude” and “At the Bay,” and Laura Sheridan in “The Garden Party.” The thesis traces how the three characters implicate how the postcolonial terms of displacement and in-betweenness reflect Katherine Mansfield’s hybridity in the stories. Homi Bhabha’s theory about the “third space” and identity are central to this discussion, as well as Angela Smith’s interpretation of liminality. The three characters discussed, experience in-between moments and these moments are analysed to explore the characters’ sense of displacement. It is often in these in-between moments that they experience an epiphany. Through the epiphanies, the characters discover a truth about their identity, but the reader does not get to understand what the epiphany is, because right before the moment a conclusion is established, the story abruptly ends. The three stories thus demonstrate that there is no conclusion to identity, because as Homi Bhabha proposes identity is fluid.
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