Bertha’s Intuitive Quest: Recognizing the Feminine Self
Keya Chakraborty and Nellufar Yeasmin
Abstract: This article puts light on the unmasking of Bertha’s unawake self in Katherine Mansfield’s short story “Bliss” published in 1918. Mansfield unlocks the shackled and entangled experiences of sexuality and femininity in the narration of the story. The phases of development of Bertha’s conscience are metaphorically parallel to the way the story unfolds. The setting of the story too plays a dominant role in the projection of her cocooned self. The unrecognized personality in Bertha is reflected when she comes across Miss Fulton, her acquaintance as a foil in the form of a mask prepared beneath. The contradictions and dilemmas in her mind are concretized when she confronts the typical feminine essence in Fulton which later she finds to have attracted her husband, Harry. Furthermore, several instances in the story establish the gradual realization of Bertha. Her quest for a self is her inward struggle to set herself free from the stereotypical constraints of the society she lives in. Mansfield breaks the paradigm of seeing women through the patriarchal gaze. Hence, Bertha remains the insipient sojourner who never knowingly dares to rebel or submit to the worldly customs.
Keywords: quest, epiphany, submerged conscience, illusion
View Full Text
Published in 2018