Mansfields Bliss

Mansfields Bliss

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Katherine Mansfield thoughtfully named her story Bliss, to ask the question, “What is bliss?” Webster’s dictionary defines bliss as, “complete happiness”. In Bliss, the main character, Bertha, feels she is blissful. She has the perfect family, the perfect life, and a party that night. However, that perfect life is a façade, which the reader along with Bertha at times learns.
After arranging the fruit for the evening party, Bertha like a child at Christmas runs upstairs to the nursery to see her baby, Little B. The scene goes, “she looked up when see saw her mother and began to jump.” (Mansfield 2) The Nanny quickly takes control of the baby and in facial expressions showing her displeasure of being interrupted. When the Nanny tells of the dog’s ear that B touched, she does not voice her objections to the Nanny’s judgment of letting B touch the dog’s ear. Bertha also has to beg Nanny, like a child rather, than an employer, to finish feeding her child. Showing that Bertha’s bliss with her baby is not true, “because the nanny has constant control over her care.” (Sonja Cerne, para. 1).
Bertha’s bliss with her husband also is fake. He is having an affair with her “a find of Bertha’s called Pearl Fulton.” (Mansfield 3). According to Megan Nussbaum, “Subconsciously Bertha knows that her husband must be messing around with someone. He's always coming in late and doesn't mind her ‘coldness’ in bed.” However she has no idea that it is her fascinating friend, after all Harry, Bertha’s husband, constantly criticizes Miss Fulton, “[he] voted her dullish, and `cold like all blond women, with a touch, perhaps, of anemia of the brain.” (Mansfield 3). Later in the story, Harry and Miss Fulton almost arrive one after another, “like they rode to the house together and then came in separately.” (Kate Campbell, para. 1). At the end,” Harry almost pushing his wife [Bertha] over when Miss Fulton is ready to leave…and then he pulled Miss Fulton towards him and his lips said, ‘I adore you.

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’ and then Miss Fulton laid her fingers on his cheek. Then Harry whispered, ‘tomorrow’ and she said, ‘yes.’” (Joni Mau, para 1).
By the end, even the bliss of the party, is gone. Bertha runs to the windows and cries, “’Oh what is going to happen now?’” (11). She realizes that all her supposed bliss was an illusion.

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