In a letter to S. S. Koteliansky, Katherine Mansfield wrote: I am always conscious of this secret disruption in me (qtd in Smith ix). This statement bears to many of the key concepts of Modernist literature - the repressed self versus the conscious self, disjunction and dissonance, and a striving for self-awareness. If Modernist literature seeks to reject a single and authoritative point of view then Mansfield's life as a New Zealander, living in the shadow of the ultimate authority figure of Great Britain, makes her the perfect candidate to explore alternative methods of narrative. Angela Smith characterizes Mansfield as living in between, with home being neither here nor there, gives her a powerful ability deploy the modernist style to the greatest effect (xi-x).
The evidence of New Zealand society's collective repression and their desire to culturally reproduce Britain can be found throughout Mansfield's stories. Just as modernism strives to subvert basic conventions of prose fiction, Mansfield's earlier work also strives to break up the conventions of British society by injecting scenes and experiences unique to New Zealand (Abrahms, 202).
[...] New York: Palgrave MacMillan. 65-6. Print. Temple, Peter. The Broken Shore. Toronto: Random House Canada ltd Print. [...]
[...] Even as Cashin attempts to uncover the true murderer of Bourgoyne, institutions such as St. Paul's private school “jealously guard the privacy of its community” by attempting withhold information from him about Bourgoyne's step son. This is in stark contrast to the willingness of the Cromarty community to offer up young boys of the Daunt without actual evidence of their guilt. Temple creates individual symbolic characters to provide a further critique of Australian society. Cecily Addison, the gatekeeper to Bourgoyne's personal transactions and files is aware and disapproving of the racism in Cromarty, much like most educated and middle class Australians (23). [...]
[...] If he does nothing the murder of Bourgoyne will “always be stuck on the boys, their families, stuck on the whole Daunt, ammunition for all the casual haters everywhere” (198). It is with this realized empathy that Cashin manages to effectively interview Vincent, a victim of the Companion's camp. While Vincent is made near voiceless by his trauma at the hands of the camp, Cashin has the patience and compassion to question him and uncover the abuse suffered by the many boys sent to the camp (262). [...]
[...] It is through Cashin's consideration and investigation that these inversions become apparent and that these dominant Australian ideologies are questioned. While Cashin originally sets out to solve the murder of Charles Bourgoyne, what he uncovers through the course of his investigation is a large and pervasive system of societal and institutionalized racism and classism. The botched arrest planned for the Aboriginal youth is immediately framed as suspicious, foul play on behalf of the Cromarty police force. In the following press conference regarding the failed road block a journalist asks, “Cromarty has a bad reputation for this kind of thing, doesn't it? [...]
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