A cup of tea by katherine mansfield questions and answers
A Cup of Tea by Katherine MansfieldI read way more short stories than I track on Goodreads, but sometimes Im pleasantly surprised and want to remember my enjoyment of them. A Cup of Tea was like that for me. I loved Katherine Mansfields prose, and the overall story was also very self-aware and even a little heart-wrenching.
In the first paragraph, you hear that Rosemary isnt pretty. Shes smart, young, rich, well-read, and liked, but not quite beautiful. She lives in a world of illusion--which always tends to be looked down upon in literature, and I dont really understand why exactly, but whatever. Rosemary, like me, wants to live the kind of life only fictional characters really get to experience--where extraordinary things happen and conflicts are resolved. She takes in a young woman who asks her for money for tea, trying to play the Miss Havisham to the girls Pip. Rosemary takes her home, feeds her, warms her. Maybe her intentions aim more towards personal purpose than selfless giving, but the act is still good. Then Rosemarys husband Philip sees Miss Smith, and calls her beautiful. Rosemary is living in a time where she can excel at literally everything, but her external beauty is what really matters. Its incredibly sad to read her reaction. In the first paragraph, we hear that her husband adores her, and that she had multiple boyfriends before getting married, and thats she brilliant and successful in all that she does, but Rosemary is still insecure and detached, despite not exactly wanting to be. Her character was really relatable to me. That plus the beautiful writing made me really enjoy this short story.
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It was first published in the Story-Teller in May Rosemary Fell, a wealthy young married woman, goes to Curzon Street to shop at a florist's and in an antique shop in which she admires, but does not buy, a beautifully painted small ceramic box. Before going to the car, Rosemary is approached by Miss Smith, a poor girl who asks for enough money to buy tea. Instead, Rosemary drives the girl to her plush house, determined to show her "that dreams do come true" and "that rich people did have hearts. She then begins to tell Rosemary of her life until Rosemary's husband, Philip, comes in. Although initially surprised, Philip recovers and asks to speak to Rosemary alone.
Rosemary Fell was not exactly beautiful. Well, if you took her to pieces… But why be so cruel as to take anyone to pieces? She was young, brilliant, extremely modern, exquisitely well dressed, amazingly well read in the newest of the new books, and her parties were the most delicious mixture of the really important people and… artists—quaint creatures, discoveries of hers, some of them too terrifying for words, but others quite presentable and amusing. Rosemary had been married two years. She had a duck of a boy . No, not Peter—Michael.