“The Fly,” by Katherine Mansfield utilizes a strong sense of setting in each of it’s three separate scenes, which all contribute greatly to the construction of the plot by invoking feelings of sympathy on the part of the reader. Each of the three scenes in “The Fly” carry completely different emotions with them, all foreign to one another. This is one of the techniques used by authors whom are considered artful and successful.
In the first scene, we are introduced to Woodifield and the Boss. The author goes to great length to illustrate the room as snug and cozy by describing the carpet as red and white and the armchair as green, painting a picture of the room in the reader’s mind for the scenes to follow. Soon thereafter, the Boss speaks of how many things in the office have changed since Woodifield had last seen it, such as the “new carpet,” “new furniture,” and “electric heating.” This could possibly be considered a metaphor for the change that the Boss was forced to make when his son was killed years before.
The second scene begins when Woodifield leaves the Boss alone in his office. This particular scene lacks a great deal in the description of the Boss’ surroundings, but there is a small bit that aids in the description of the internal emotional turmoil that runs so deep in this scene. After the main thoughts of scene two, the Boss decides to, “get up and have a look at the boy’s photograph.” The fact that the Boss keeps around a photograph of someone who’s absence brings him so much pain tells us quite a bit about the type of person that he is.
Katherine Mansfield’s short story The Fly is taken from the collection 'Dove’s Nest' and inspired by her dear brother Leslie’s death, it is one of her finest short stories. The Fly is the story of a person haunted for six years by the death of his son. It is the depiction of anguish. Mansfield’s technique in her stories was to make her characters show their thoughts by a kind of mental soliloquy ‘ ...
The third and final section of the short story lacks extensive description of the main character’s surroundings as well, but subtle information can still be extracted from it. When, “the Boss lifted the corpse on the end of the paper-knife and flung it into the waste-paper basket,” the reader learns of how the Boss can also be rather cold. It was just a fly, but it was a life nonetheless.
Throughout “The Fly” setting is a very prevalent and important part of the plotline. Without it, the reader would not feel nearly as close to the story as they would with it. The superior use of setting helps Katherine Mansfield to immerse the reader in the plot and make them feel more connected to the story itself.