The Little Girl
By Katherine Mansfield
· The story ‘The Little Girl’ authored by Katherine Mansfield is all about a small girl who is scared of her father and misunderstands him just because he is strict and often scolds her.
· The writer stresses upon the theme that the emotions and understanding of the children change and get better with the passage of time.
· It deals with the peculiar behaviour of parents especially fathers who don’t express love and immaturity on the part of kids and youngsters who often misjudge their parents as being rude, unconcerned and unmerciful.
· The story helps the children understand that their emotions and understanding of their parents change as they grow up and become mature. It makes us realise the significance of parents, need of interaction and quality time that will help us understand that even the strict parents love their children same way.
Summary / Synopsis
§ The little girl, Kezia is very unhappy and nervous in the morning to face her father who is going to his work. She always wants to avoid her father as she is scared of him.
§ Whenever Kezia stammers out of nervousness, her father scolds her and asks her to speak properly but Kezia becomes even more nervous, consequently, stammers and fumbles more badly. Thinking about him was like thinking about a giant. She used to cry often and wonder why God has made fathers.
§ Her grandmother always tried to work as a bridge between Kezia and her father. She asked her to go and talk to her father on Sundays.
§ Once, grandmother asked her to make a birthday present for her father to make him happy and get closer to him. She advised her to make a pin cushion out of a piece of yellow silk.
§ Kezia stitched it from three sides. She tried to get something to fill the cushion. In her pursuit she went to her mother’s room to look for scraps and found some papers on the bed table. She used those papers to fill the cushion, sewed up the fourth side and got the cushion ready.
§ In the evening she heard father yelling at everyone in the house. When the mother enquired Kezia about the papers in their room, she nodded saying that she had used them to fill her cushion. Father became very furious as the papers were his speech for Port Authority. Father lost control and beat her with ruler on her palms. That night kezia wept bitterly in grandmother’s lap and wanted to know ‘what did God made fathers for’? She could never forgot the incident.
§ She used to look out through a gap in the fence at the Macdonalds who lived next door. Mr. Macdonalds used to run, laugh and play ‘tag’ with his five children. This made her decide that there are different kinds of father.
§ After some time Kezia’s mother became sick and had to be hospitalised. Grandmother had to stay with her in the hospital and kezia was alone with Alice, her cook. She couldn’t sleep without her grandmother. That night she had a nightmare that a big butcher was grinning and coming to her with a knife to kill her and she screamed.
§ Father came into her room and took her in his arms to his room. He carefully tucked her up on his bed and lay beside her. Being scared of the butcher she crept close to her father and could hear his heart beat. She felt amused to find her father sleeping before her. Then, she realised that her father gets tired due to work and that there is no one to look after him. He is too tired to be like Mr. Macdonalds. She was happy to acknowledge that her father had a big heart. She was no more scared of her father.
The message of the story is crystal clear that we need to realise the importance of parents and relations. We only realise their value in our life when we face difficult times. The writer makes us understand the theme that our parents love us unconditionally and have faith in them. It conveys the message that even the strict parents love their children same way.
Important Question answers
Q1. Kezia’s efforts to please her father resulted in displeasing him. How did this happen?
Ans. Kezia’s grandmother asked her to make a birthday present for her father to make him happy and get closer to him. She advised her to make a pin cushion out of a piece of yellow silk. Kezia stitched it from three sides. She was looking for something to fill the cushion and the grandmother was in the garden. In her pursuit she went to her mother’s room to look for scraps and found some papers on the bed table. She filled the cushion with those papers, sewed up the fourth side. But all her efforts went down the drain because those papers were father’s important speech. He got furious and beat her with ruler on her palms. She wept bitterly and could never forget the incident.
Q2. Kezia decides that there are different kinds of father. How was her father different from Mr. Macdonalds?
Ans. In absence of her grandmother she had a nightmare. Father took her in his room. Being scared of the butcher she crept close to her father and could hear his heart beat. She felt amused to find her father sleeping before her. This made her realise that her father gets tired due to work and that there is no one to look after him. He is harder than grandmother but she could see that this hardness was nice. He is too tired to run and play like Mr. Macdonalds. Her father is different from Mr. Macdonalds but then, she didn’t mind that. She happily acknowledged that her father had a big heart. She was no more scared of her father.