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The story "A Cup of Tea" was written in 1922, shortly before the death of the writer (she passed away in 1923). In a story with a subtle psychological component, a woman always remains a woman, and remembering this, she can achieve a lot. The writer's light syllable and narrative talent make reading interesting and unobtrusive. Katherine Mansfield had a unique ability to write very confidentially, subtly, and frankly, but very vividly and figuratively conveyed in this short story the facets and motives of the main character's behavior. The author's ironic hints and soft accents provoke the reader to an unambiguous assessment of the heroine's actions. The illusion of "sisterly love" divorced, giving way to reality, in the current situation, warmed up by a short remark from the husband of the main character, it could not be otherwise.
The Story and Its Analysis
Katherine Mansfield, pseudonym of the writer Kathleen Beauchamp, was born in New Zealand and is the pride of this country. At the time of her death, many of her works were not published, only then, after some time, did her novels see the light. Rosemary Fell, not a beauty, but still a rather attractive girl, successfully married a really very rich gentleman. He does not spare money for her, Rosemary allows herself any purchases, including antiques, and spared no money to buy a trinket. Talking about the high cost of the little thing, a poor girl approached her and asked for a few coins to eat, or rather drink a cup of tea (Mansfield 54). Enlightenment comes to Rosemary, because of how wonderful it will be to pass for a patron of the arts and do good to a poor girl. Aristocratic society will be amazed at Rosemary's nobility
Here, Rosemary’s husband Philip appears on the stage, a truly smart man. Perfectly knowing his generally not very smart wife, he turned the whole situation upside-down with just one phrase, perhaps, being a subtle psychologist. It was useless to swear at his wife or try to explain to her the baseness of her plan, but playing on the ancient instinct was the wisest decision. Everyone seems satisfied, and Philip let Rosemary buy her expensive trinket (Mansfield 60-61). Philip, probably realizing that Rosemary attempts to prove herself on another person’s account, however, disapproves of such behavior.
The moments associated with Rosemary's sketches are beautifully conveyed, it was believed that she organically entered her role and would drag it out for a very long time. Everything in the story is realistic and is relevant to any society where there is inequality and where someone is forced to ask for help from those who are already tired of eating black caviar and washing it down with expensive champagne (Asmarani 49-50). Although Rosemary attempted to help the poor girl out, it is evident that her intentions were rather selfish, hence, Mansfield does not picture Rosemary as good by any means.
The story is written in a beautiful style, it is read quite easily and with interest, holding an intrigue till the last moment. From the very beginning, doubt creeps in about the spoiled Rosemary Fell, it is funny when she offered tea with brandy to the starving girl because the child says that she will now faint from hunger, and she is offered to warm herself with alcohol. It is not at all casual that this moment is written out in the short story, everything immediately falls into place (Asmarani 53). One peculiar point in the story is that Mansfield masterfully contrasts kindness and selfishness, two characteristics that do not exactly fall into the same dimension.
To sum up the above, the story "A Cup of Tea", by Katherine Mansfield rates the highest mark. It is a work with meaning, worthwhile, and original, if you like the genre of prose and have a desire to join the work of a talented writer. Moreover, there is an audio version of this work on the Internet. Very high-quality prose, the plot may not be new. Many works are recalled when rich people decided to play charity. It was not a stupid person who came up with the saying that it is impossible for a rich man to understand a poor man, and a well-fed man cannot understand a hungry man.
Asmarani, Ratna. "The Psychological Character of Rosemary Fell in Katherine Mansfield’s Short Story Entitled "A Cup of Tea"." Culturalistics: Journal of Cultural, Literary, and Linguistic Studies, vol. 2, no. 2, 24 May. 2018, pp. 49-55 , https://ejournal2.undip.ac.id/index.php/culturalistics/article/view/2552. Retrieved 13 Jun. 2022.
Mansfield, Katherine. The Doves' Nest: And Other Stories. FB&C Limited, 2017, pp. 50-64.
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