Death is something most people would want to avoid. Mankind has always been and will continue to be victims of this tragic event. In the short story “The Fly,” Katherine Mansfield explores many different themes. Such themes center on the struggles that death of loved ones presents to a person’s life. The death of a loved one is not easy to cope with. It may cause one to be trapped by grief, wanting to fight life, and being unable to heal with time.
The close relationship that a father may share with his son can bring a man’s mind to war if he were to lose his only son.
The author paints this picture of agony and distress through the life of the Boss in this story. Throughout the story there are many deaths first with the boss’s son then with the fly. I believe that the author was trying to show that the concept of death is inevitable, but there are ways to cope with it.
You either find the strength to move on or you can sit and let your life pass you by. The Boss from “The Fly” reminds me of those that are afflicted by death. The Boss has tortured himself out of a life that could have been good. The Boss’s son was dead, but it is not a reason to forget about the good things in life.
The Boss should have realized that suppressing his pain would never bring his son back.
Instead the Boss has gone into great lengths to change the environment he was in. But he did not take into consideration that to create a new future he would have to effectively deal with his past. Another theme of “The Fly” would have to be not being able to move on. The song “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye To yesterday” by Boys2Men reflects solely on how difficult it is to move on after a tragic event. But there is no need to dwell on the past, because dwelling in the past brings no change to the future.
If the Boss took the time to move on from that tragic incident in his life he would have been able to visit his son’s grave. He would not be having mental meltdowns just by hearing about his son’s grave. Just by hearing the words “…visited sons grave” from Mr. Woodifield the Boss’ brain basically shuts down, so he asked his office manager not to let anyone in to see him for half an hour. All he was able to think about for the rest of that day was the loss of his child, his only son, who was supposed to gain control of his company, the son who was going to continue his legacy.
When I think of fathers I also think of sons. There is never a man who wishes to have only daughters. They would always want to have a son. Sons are the gateway to the next generation carrying on the name tradition. Sons are the ones who will be taking over things when the father is no longer there and with his son gone the Boss was feeling a crippling amount of loss. His first and only son was gone, closing the gate for future generations, the end of a legacy. The Boss felt that his reason for living was lost with the death of his son. He was now a shell of the man that once thought that life was full and had meaning.
Fighting with his life, the Boss does not realize he is in a standstill just like the fly in the story that is fighting with life (the ink) to make it. As in the famous quote when life gives you lemons you make lemonade, the Boss should use this concept by turning a bad situation into a good one. In life there are no do overs, once the time has passed it is gone forever. The Boss may have felt like sending death a letter. Explaining the reasons why his son should not have been taken away. The Boss needed to open up his eyes and look within himself to see if he was satisfied with the life he was living.
Furthermore, time does not always heal all wounds. There is a saying that states “time changes things, but you actually have to change things yourself. ” I feel like that is true especially when I hear the quote “time heals all wounds. ” I feel that there is a catch. You cannot just sit around then suddenly and miraculously all your pain is gone. You have to work to get your wounds sealed. The Boss felt that if he just ignored the wounds and pretended as if they were not there he would be better in no time at all, because there would not be anything to heal.
But he is just overestimating his imagination because the wounds will always be beneath the surface. Even if he does not show his pain it will always be buried deep inside. The Boss did not realize that he was slowing down his healing process by ignoring what was in his face. Another theme would be not giving up. When there is an obstacle in your path that keeps knocking you down. Just get up and try again because there is always a way around it. Do not ever let that obstacle rule your life but vice versa. For example the fly, in the story no matter how many times it was covered in ink.
It got back up and cleaned itself off even until its last breath. The fly basically went down fighting it did not let the ink get to his will to live, until it had no other choice but to give up. This is an example the Boss should take and use in his own life. People die every day, he just has to see that there is more to life than just to live. He needs to find something positive to keep him going, rather than dwelling on the thought of losing his only child. Before it was for his son, now it can be for himself or his family and friends. The story can also be read as a confirmation of the brutal horrors of World War I.
A representation of the generation that sent its sons to their death beds in a cruel war. The Boss as well as Mr. Woodifield had a son in the war, and it seems that they both lost their sons in that same war, just as many others. Because of the way Mr. Woodifield spoke of the grave site it seemed to have been made to hold fallen soldiers of that war. It shows that war can affect people in many ways. Mr. Woodifield can talk about his son freely. While the Boss cannot even stand to see anything that would remind him of the loss of his son’s presence let alone hear his name.
All in all there are many different themes in “The Fly” by Katherine Mansfield. Like how death is a part of life that we cannot get rid of. When life gets difficult sometimes it is hard to move on. Especially when it comes to losing someone you have a special bond with. It also explains how fathers and sons develop a close relationship with one another. How you cannot fight with life because it does not appear to have what you want, that time is not always the sole healer of all wounds, and the brutal horrors of war. Above all life is what you make of it, you either takes it or you leave it.