Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Monday, October 4, 2010

"Sixpence" by Katherine Mansfield

'Sixpence" by Katherine Mansfield   (1921, 11 pages)
"Sixpence" by Katherine Mansfield (1888 to 1923-New Zealand) was first published in 1921 and was republished in a collection of her work, Something Childish and Other Stories, in 1924 by her husband John Middleton Murray.     

"Sixpence" is a simple story of a father's love for his sometimes out of control young son.    The family issues and conversations in this story are masterfully done and completely believable.    It is a story most parents will relate to easily.     The family has one son and two daughters.    The daughters are well behaved but the son can be a bit of  demon at times.   Nothing really horrible just "boys will be boys" stuff but sadly he was at his worst when the father was at work and the mother had a visitor.   Of course the visitor feels impelled to give her advice.    Her advice was,  to tell the boy he will be beaten by his father when he gets home.    This sort of set me up to expect the father to be a brute but he in fact is nothing of the sort.    He quarrels with his perhaps  dominant wife and tells her they have never beaten the children before and he does not wish to start now but he is coerced into beating his son.   

The remaining events in the story show Mansfield's deep understanding of the dilemma  of the father caught between his desire to be a good supportive husband and a good father.   

I think most anyone who reads it will like it.    "Sixpence" can be read online at The New Zealand Electronic Text Center.

Mel u


Suko said...

Mel, this sounds like an unusual short story. The father was coerced into beating his son?

Mel u said...

Suko-it is an unusual story-yes the wife guilt tripped the husband into beating the son