Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Katherine Mansfield's short stories include numerous visual images, many of which contribute significantly to the stories' moods and themes. Her visual imagery has been linked with literary devices such as symbolism and irony. This study, however, emphasizes three major principles of the visual arts apparent in her imagery—line, color, and composition—that also play important roles in imbuing a substantial number of her images with possible meaning. The prominence and skillful handling of these artistic techniques suggest that she purposely wove them into her works to produce psychological effects that induce moods or support themes. As a result, Mansfield successfully merged verbal and visual languages to promote a greater sensitivity to her characters' perceptions and feelings. Mansfield's ability to see and creatively imitate reality as painters do, her friendship with painters (particularly Dorothy Brett), and other documented evidence of a fascination with the visual arts point to an apparent dependence on artistic techniques and theories that add an essential dimension to many of her stories. The most compelling evidence, however, exists within the many visual images themselves.


Creative Writing | English Language and Literature