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Written by David Miller
The terrible laugh
Mrs. Henshawe was a person who knew many jokes and loved to laugh, but her laugh was terrible and angry sometimes, and any stupidity made her laugh: “Untoward circumstances, accidents, even disasters, provoked her mirth. And it was always mirth, not hysteria; there was a spark of zest and wild humour in it.” This image gives the reader a characteristic of the protagonist of the story – a nice and pleasant woman with something evil and cruel hidden beneath her smile, her real attitude to the world.
The place under a spell
The narrator reminds how she used to walk around the Driscoll place, and she always enjoyed these walks. For her this place was magical, especially in spring days with all those blossoming trees. “I thought of the place as being under a spell, like Sleeping Beauty’s palace; it has been in a trance, or lain in its flowers like a beautiful corpse, ever since that winter night when Love went out of the gates and gave the dare to Fate.” This image helps to understand the narrator’s soul, her feelings and emotion and importance of this place for her.
Two kinds of friends
Mrs. Henshawe was a friendly person, and, as Nellie noticed, she has two kinds of friends – “artistic people – actors, musicians, literary men, without whom she was always at her best because she admired them” and another group whom she called “moneyed” friends, and these she cultivated to her husband’s account. This image shows us how cunning and inventive Myra was – she has friends both for pleasure and business and all of them liked her. The mask she wore was brilliant - both groups of friends never knew her real attitude towards them.
Myra was a contradictory woman, she didn’t know what she wants, her mood was changing with every second, she loved and hated her husband simultaneously and with time this contradiction became more noticeable: “She looked strong and broken, generous and tyrannical, a witty and rather wicked old woman, who hated life for its defeats, and loved it for its absurdities”. This image gives the reader fully characteristic not only of this peticular woman, but of almost every female in the world – so multi-faced and changeable.
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