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Character Selection Contribution to a Theme

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It is not very easy to get along with people, especially with elderly ones. Very often we keep waiting for apologies from those who insulted us. Such a situation is described in short story “The Singing Lesson” by Katherine Mansfield. In it a mistress and a gentleman were going to marry. But his boss’s wife very often asked him to dinner. So, he almost did not have spare time. One day, the gentleman got so upset that he wrote his fiancée the letter regarding their break up. Instead of taking it easy she was deeply depressed by his letter and was not friendly with her colleague and pupils. Moreover, she was wondering about quitting a job and moving to another place. But her fiancé was smart enough to understand what happened and to write her another letter. Thus, the theme of this story, or in other words its main idea (“Elements”, n. d.), is that not taking seriously those who have got on their nerves is the right thing to do.

“Plot, characters, setting, and theme” can be easily identified in almost each story ("Story Elements", n. d.). By character we mean a person in a fiction piece with his/her characteristics. Among different characters of a story the following two are distinguished. The protagonist is the main one around whom all events are happening. His/her opposer is the antagonist (“Elements”, n. d.). Identifying how the selection of characters of the above mentioned story contributes to its theme gives us some insights about writing our own stories ("Story Elements", n. d.).

The story at hand is about Miss Meadows, who is thirty. It is high time for her to get married. She is opposed to her finance Basil who is five years younger. Because of this, she is worried about Basil's feelings to her. Therefore, her reacting to his letter regarding their break up in the wrong way looks natural. The appearance of another character, namely Science Mistress, was chosen to be a little bit irritating. It gives an excuse to upset protagonist’s treatment her in a not very friendly way. The author has chosen Miss Meadows to be a Music Mistress. It gives her opportunity to alleviate her despair in almost proper way by forcing her pupils to sing a sad song. We know who is bothering the antagonist. It is his boss's wife. Most likely, because of her he changed his mind about marriage for a while. Finally, the Head Mistress has been chosen to be a lady. It is easier for a woman to understand the importance of the letter from Basil to his fiancée and not to punish Miss Meadows. So, it seems that the author has chosen the characters to exclude any conflicts besides the ones between Basil and his boss’s wife and between Miss Meadows and Basil. It is the cause and effect relation between these conflicts that illustrates the main idea of this narrative.

Thus, the story “The Singing Lesson” by Katherine Mansfield is about the mistress and the gentleman. They were in love and were going to marry. But his boss’s wife constantly asked him to dinner so that he almost did not have free time. One day, he got so upset that he wrote his fiancée a letter regarding their break up. It was high time for her to get married, and she was five years older than the young man. Therefore, she was worried about his feelings to her and was so mad about the letter that she was not friendly to her colleague and pupils. Moreover, she was wondering about quitting the job and moving to another place. So, the theme of this story, or in other words its main idea (“Elements”, n. d.), is that not taking seriously those who have got on their nerves is the right thing to do.

By character we mean a person in a fiction piece with his/her characteristics (“Elements”, n. d.). Identifying how the selection of characters of the above mentioned story contributes to its theme gives us some insights about writing our own stories ("Story Elements", n. d.).

It seems that selecting characters the author was worried about not creating any conflicts among them other than the ones between the young man and his boss’s wife and between this man and his fiancée. It is the cause and effect relation between these conflicts that illustrates the theme of this narrative.

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