The Fly by Katherine Mansfield Summary

The Fly by Katherine Mansfield Summary

The story “The Fly” throws light on the fact that time is a great healer and it conquers grief.


Mr. Woodifield comes to see his ex-boss. He is retired and is a heart patient. He praises the new setting and furniture of the office. Then the boss offers him whisky. After drinking it, Mr. Woodifield remembers what he has forgotten. He tells the boss that his daughters have visited the graves of the bosses as well as Mr. Woodsfield’s son. Actually, they have died in a war.


When Mr. Woodifield has gone, the boss remembers his dead son. He tries to have the same feelings of grief as he felt on the day of his death. However, he fails. For the last try, he decides to go to the photograph of his son, but a fly in an inkpot attracts his attention. He forgets all about his son.

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He takes the fly out of the inkpot and puts it on a blotting paper. As soon as the fly is about to fly, he drops a drop of ink on it and enjoys its struggle. At last, the fly dies of drops of ink. The boss throws it away and orders for a fresh blotting paper. Then he tries to remember what he was thinking before attending to the fly. It means he forgets his dead son again.


Thus, self-esteem is the result of a comparative knowledge of oneself, and not just a statement of existing possibilities. In connection with self-esteem, such personal qualities as self-esteem, vanity, ambition arise. Self-assessment has a number of functions: comparative self-knowledge (what I am worth); predictive (what can I); regulatory (what should I do in order not to lose self-respect, to have peace of mind).

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