Analysis

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The singing lesson analysis “The Singing Lesson” by Katherine Mansfield is a piece of prose that does more than merely describe a singing lesson in a music hall. One of the features of this excerpt is that it is an exploration of many ideas, the chief of which may be that a teacher’s personal life and disappointment can affect every other sphere of her life and work. The central character and subject of this passage is Miss Meadows and through the author’s characterization, we get an insight into human nature. The prose begins with Miss Meadows trodding the corridors of the music hall with despair in her heart while the girls around her hurry, skip and flutter by. Here the sharp contrast between the fluttering girls and the trodding Miss Meadows, the feelings within oneo and the glee and excitement of the other help to heighten our awareness of Miss Meadows as a symbolic figure of isolation and despair. Not only is there a contrast of moods between the bubbling girls and the despairing Miss Meadows but also a contrast between Miss Meadows and another character – the Science Mistress. The discourse between them conveys much in terms of different traits in human beings. Miss Meadows is bitter and full of hatred as she stares at the Science Mistress while the Science Mistress is a symbol; of artificiality as she drawls during her conversation “Good mor-ning” “win”ter” “fro-zen”. Thus the language supports the characterization of the Science Mistress. The use of a series of adjectives and nouns further emphasizes the insincerity and gloom of the Science Mistress. For example – the Science Mistress’s “sweet, affected” drawl, her “sugary smile” and “mocking light” in her eyes and the “grim” answer and quick grimace of Miss Meadows. Having analyzed the author’s device of contrasting characters within a setting, we see how the setting (not only of the “cold

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