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Reflection on Her First Ball

  • Date Submitted: 04/16/2013 12:40 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 61.3 
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Reflection on ‘Her First Ball’ by Katherine Mansfield

Her First Ball, by Katherine Mansfield, depicts a memorable event in a young woman’s life, symbolizing her entrance into modern society as a debutante. This short story is not very hard to understand, but contains many profound connotations that I think I didn’t get. The story made me think about memorable events in my life, though I don’t think any were as significant to me as the ball was to Leila (the main character).

In the first part of the story, as Leila is heading to the ball in a cab, she thinks about random thoughts that are usually related to feeling agitated. Her reverie extends to feeling sorry for herself because she doesn’t have a brother, which I think is a complete out-of-the-blue topic. She pities herself that no brother had ever and would never say “Twig?” to her. However, this does emphasize just how skittish Leila is before the ball and conveys the trepidation vividly. Here, we share Leila’s sense of anxiety and it continues until she starts dancing.

The description of the ball hall is very amusing, as the writer includes the monologues of multiple people in a very humorous way. The antique room and description of the whole scenario may bring a sense of nostalgia to some VERY old people, but to me, the illustration paints a very peculiar and fantastical image in my head. The way the ball is arranged also sounds very alien to me, how the men and women are separate before the ball and how only men can ask the women to dance. When the old fat man first comes up to Leila, I felt suspicious because he says, “Is it known to me of yore?” Does he mean he has met Leila before???

Later in the story, Leila is pestered by the old fat man as he tells her about what would happen to her in the distant future.

“Long before that you’ll be sitting up there on the stage, looking on, in your nice black velvet. And these pretty arms will have turned into short fat ones, and you’ll beat time with...

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