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Marriage à la mode - Katherine Mansfield (1921)

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  1. A threshold between social life, intimacy and innermost thoughts
    1. The reading of the letter: a violation of privacy
    2. Language atrophy: when comedy and laughter reign supreme
    3. Permeability of the narrative instance
  2. A moment of sudden meaning (Virginia Woolf's ?Moments of beings?)
    1. An unexpected experience of awareness
    2. Crisis of language: an aesthetic of ineffability
    3. A sense of unsettling strangeness
  3. An inner struggle between desire and moral consciousness
    1. She and they: conflicting voices
    2. The desire to return to some paradise regained
    3. The failure of epiphany

Introduction: ?I feel that indifference is really foreign to my nature and that to live in a state of it is to live in the only Hell I really appreciate,? wrote Katherine Mansfield in a letter written to Murry in Paris. The indifference is a major theme in ?Marriage à la mode?. This short story deals with the question of couple, isolation, egoism, shift, and the difficulty to understand the other. William works all week long in London, and spends weekends with his wife, Isabel, and his children, Paddy and Johnny, in the countryside. William's love for his wife is pure, but Isabel is distant and more and more indifferent to the marital life. She prefers to spend her time with her bohemian friends (some artists, painters and poets), as if she was outside the limits of the real world. William misses the woman Isabel was formerly, and decides to send her a love letter.

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