The Fly

by

Katherine Mansfield

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Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Fly published in 1956.
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The Fly Quotes

“Y’are very snug in here,” piped old Mr. Woodifield, and he peered out of the great, green-leather arm-chair by his friend the boss’s desk as a baby peers out of its pram.

Related Characters: Woodifield (speaker), The Boss
Page Number: 343
Explanation and Analysis:

So there sat old Woodifield, smoking a cigar and staring almost greedily at the boss, who rolled in his office chair, stout, rosy, five years older than he, and still going strong, still at the helm. It did one good to see him.

Related Characters: The Boss, Woodifield
Page Number: 343
Explanation and Analysis:

“It’s whiskey, ain’t it?” he piped feebly. The boss turned the bottle and lovingly showed him the label. Whiskey it was. “D’you know,” said he, peering up at the boss wonderingly, “they wont let me touch it at home.” And he looked as though he was going to cry. “Ah, that’s where we know a bit more than the ladies,” cried the boss […].

Related Characters: The Boss (speaker), Woodifield (speaker), Woodifield’s Daughters, Woodifield’s Wife
Page Number: 344
Explanation and Analysis:

The door shut, the firm heavy steps recrossed the bright carpet, the fat body plumped down in the spring chair, and leaning forward, the boss covered his face with his hands. He wanted, he intended, he had arranged to weep….

Related Characters: The Boss (speaker), Woodifield, The Boss’s Son
Page Number: 346
Explanation and Analysis:

His boy was an only son. Ever since his birth the boss had worked at building up this business for him; it had no other meaning if it was not for the boy. Life itself had come to have no other meaning. How on earth could he have slaved, denied himself, kept going all those years without the promise for ever before him of the boy’s stepping into his shoes and carrying on where he left off?

Related Characters: The Boss (speaker), The Boss’s Son
Page Number: 346
Explanation and Analysis:

Six years ago, six years…. How quickly time passed! It might have happened yesterday. The boss took his hands from his face; he was puzzled. Something seemed to be wrong with him. He wasn’t feeling as he wanted to feel. He decided to get up and have a look at the boy’s photograph. But it wasn’t a favourite photograph of his; the expression was unnatural. It was cold, even stern-looking. The boy had never looked like that.

Related Characters: The Boss (speaker), The Boss’s Son
Page Number: 347
Explanation and Analysis:

At that moment the boss noticed that a fly had fallen into his broad inkpot, and was trying feebly but desperately to clamber out again. Help! Help! Said those struggling legs. But the sides of the inkpot were wet and slippery; it fell back again and began to swim.

Related Characters: The Boss, Woodifield, The Boss’s Son
Related Symbols: The Fly
Page Number: 347
Explanation and Analysis:

He’s a plucky little devil, thought the boss, and he felt a real admiration for the fly’s courage. That was the way to tackle things; that was the right spirit. Never say die; it was only a question of ….

Related Characters: The Boss, Woodifield, The Boss’s Son
Related Symbols: The Fly
Page Number: 347
Explanation and Analysis:

The boss lifted the corpse on the end of the paper-knife and flung it into the waste-paper basket. But such a grinding feeling of wretchedness seized him that he felt positively frightened. He started forward and pressed the bell for Macey.

Related Characters: The Boss, Woodifield, The Boss’s Son, Macey
Related Symbols: The Fly
Page Number: 348
Explanation and Analysis:

“Bring me some fresh blotting paper,” he said sternly, “and look sharp about it.” And while the old dog padded away he fell to wondering what it was he had been thinking about before. What was it? It was…. He took out his handkerchief and passed it inside his collar. For the life of him he could not remember.

Related Characters: The Boss (speaker), Woodifield, The Boss’s Son, Macey
Related Symbols: The Fly
Page Number: 348
Explanation and Analysis:
No matches.