The objective of Katherine’s Mansfield is to create a new kind of writing through the use of fiction. Thus, there is departure from the conventional approach of writing fiction because the conventional approach focused merely on reporting and authorial observation. Katherine Mansfield deviates from the mechanical recording of events. She experiments this new method in Prelude. In this story we can find an organic structure where characters seem talking to the readers directly. According to Ian.A Gordan-

“For Katherine, to be the spectacle required only her own power of sympathetic recall. To induce her reader to be spectacle was a different matter. It required an originality of technique and a use of prose that is her major contribution to the craft of fiction. It is done at different levels. At one end of the scale, entire passages are interior monologues, the events seen or felt from the point of view of one or the other of characters. The reader is placed inside the character.”1

It is interesting to note that modern fiction is stuffed with Interior monologues and Katherine Mansfield makes a substantial use of it. She treats as if it is a literary device in almost all of her short stories. By doing so she actively engages her readers and generates interest among them. It is also noteworthy that her use of Interior monologues is not mechanical in nature. The readers are not aware of such device because they are busy in unfolding the plot of the story. A.C Chatterji has remarked about the use of Interior monologues that-

“ To Joyce interior monologue was a mans of bringing his readers closer to the characters, of telling them more about their psychic lives than they could learn merely from an account of their outward behavior. To Mrs. Woolf, on the other hand, it was a means of telling the readers less about their characters, of dissociating their ego from concrete situations in life and converting it into a vehicle of poetic memory. She tried to turn it into a poetic expression or reverie…. Dorothy Richardson, like Marcel Proust in France, placed the reader in the mind of a single character and plodded endlessly through twelve tedious volumes to give him a rendering of the heroine’s mind from adolescence to middle life. Joyce’s attempts to find verbal equivalents for the minor thought processes led to a medley of pastiche, quotation, extravaganza and literary allusion, the net result of which was a bewildering obscurity.”2

Thus it becomes clear that Katherine Mansfield uses the technique of Interior monologue in an organic manner. She hesitates to use it in a technical way because her sense of literature is subjective. The inner consciousness of the characters is presented indirectly to the readers and as a result the curiosity of the readers is never lost. In The Tiredness of Rosabel, the hunger of Rosabel is reflected through the use of interior monologue. Few lines from the story are interesting to quote here-

“The street was blurred and misty, but light striking on the planes turned their dullness to opal and silver, and the jeweller’s shops seen through this, were fairy palaces. Her feet were horribly wet, and she knew the bottom of her skirt and petticoat would be coated with black greasy mud. There was a sickening smell of warm humanity, it seemed to be oozing out of everybody in the bus- and everybody has the same expression, sitting so still, staring in front of them. How many times she has read these advertisements-“Sappolio saves time, saves Labour”- “Heinz’s Tomato Sauce”- and the inane annoying dialogue between doctor and judge concerning the superlative merits of “Lamplough’s Pyretic Saline”. She glanced at the book which the girl read so earnestly, mouthing the words in a way that Rosabel detested, licking her first finger and thumb each time that she turned each page. She could not see very clearly, it was something about a hot voluptuous night, a band playing, and a girl with lovely, white shoulders. Oh, heavens! Rosabel stirred suddenly and unfastened the two top buttons of her coat…. She felt almost stifled. Through her half closed eyes the whole row of people on the opposite seat seemed to resolve into one fatuous staring face.”(524-25)

The above lines present a detailed course of action in the story. The psychical and psychological elaboration provides us a message that how narratives are done through the use of such dispositions. Her awareness and attitude are revealed through her action. There are also certain awkward situations but it seems a part of the story. It is interesting to see that Katherine Mansfield also uses the technique of stream of consciousness successfully. There is flux of ideas continuously coming and going out. As a result we can find a number of characters having different persona in the stories of Mansfield. Thus, it becomes clear that she develops the action, reveals the character and the immediate context with least effort. The shift of focus is almost imperceptible. It is interesting to find that readers empathize with Rosabel. This is the subjectivity and understanding of characters by the author. There is a perfect blend of the narrative technique and psychic exploration. As a result there are varieties of stories written by Katherine Mansfield. In Prelude we will find that almost all the characters use interior monologue only to show what is happening in the story. It seems that the narrator is omnipresent in almost all the characters. The story reveals the school of thought of all the family members. Thus the narrative focus keeps on shifting from one character to other. It is only by the use of interior monologue that readers dive into actions and characters. In another short story entitled Late at Night we find that there are numerous themes like love, pride, class, insecurity, rejection and acceptance. In the story there is woman whose name is Virginia. The story is her monologue which is actually a response to the reply she receives from the man to whom she sent a pair of socks.


  1. Undiscovered Country, ed. Ian A. Gordon (London: Longman, 1974), p.xx
  2. The Art of Katherine Mansfield (New Delhi:S.Chand, 1980), p.333