Prelude and At the Bay Summary
Katherine Mansfield

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Prelude and At the Bay Summary

Women dominate the Burnell household. Even though Stanley Burnell rules when he is at home, there is always the sense that he is an intrusive presence in his own house. When Stanley leaves for work in "At the Bay," all the women heave a collective sigh of relief — "There was no man to disturb them." In "Prelude," the women are responsible for the smooth handling of the move as they try to accommodate Stanley's needs and wishes. While Stanley may appear domineering and managerial, the reader is always aware that he remains subservient to the will of his wife. As one critic notes, in this story Mansfield portrays "four stages of womanhood" in the principal female characters in the household: Linda Burnell, the mistress of the household; Beryl Fairfield, her beautiful unmarried sister, who is in search of an identity; Kezia, one of Linda's children, who is still...

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Prelude and At the Bay Short Guide