On Life of Ma Parker
· How far does Katherine Mansfield get ‘inside’ her working class character? Does she feel like a person?
· Why does Katherine Mansfield introduce the ‘literary gentleman’, who has nothing to do with Ma Parker’s grief?
· Does the respelling of certain words to make them ‘working class’ create realism or is it patronising?
· Why is the ‘hard life’ theme repeated so much? Is this over done?
· ‘But the struggle she’d had to bring up those six little children and keep herself to herself’ What does that last clause mean?
· Why is the sick child ‘offended’?
· How convincing is it that Ma Parker can find nowhere to cry?
· Is this need to cry all on her own some kind of symptom of her life? Is it just loneliness? Is it something to do
with English culture?
· Compare Ma Parker’s need to have a ‘planned cry’ to the boss in The Fly.
· Is Ma Parker represented simply as a victim of fate (compare Reginald’s comment in Mr and Mrs Dove)?
· Are we to think of Ma Parker as typical of her class?
On Mr and Mrs Dove
· Reginald’s lack of self-confidence is based on: Reality (He’s just a loser)? His low self esteem? Class? His mother?
· Reginald speculates that Anne doesn’t really know why she laughs at him? Is there a Freudian explanation?
· Mrs Dove leads Mr Dove, but Anne’s upbringing makes her think the husband should lead. Is that assumption
questioned in the story?
· Is this a story about gender?
· Anne is fond of her doves? Does she like the ‘marriage’ arrangement her doves have? Or like to laugh at it?
· Mr Dove follows Mrs Dove bowing and so on. Anne tells Reginald that that’s all they do? Has she forgotten something?
Is she denying something?
· Why does Katherine Mansfield choose doves? Doves are traditional symbols of love and peace.
The dove comes back to Noah with a message of hope, that there is land somewhere out there.
· Anne finds Reginald a good ‘friend’, but that’s not enough. She goes to her reading in which, we assume, ‘love’ is a romantic
notion with a masterly Adonis-like lover with wicked bedroom eyes.
· How can Reginald expect Anne to up sticks and go to Rhodesia with him the very next day?
· Katherine Mansfield represents Rhodesia as a kind of ‘saving’ of Reginald but also a place of loneliness .
He says he can stand the loneliness but there’s something he can’t cope with. Which is?
· Do you think Anne is first just ‘silly’, and second selfish in wanting to make Reginald somehow remove her guilt?
· What happens in the end? Is Reggie redeemed or doomed?