Her First Ball

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"Her First Ball" is a 1921 short story by Katherine Mansfield. It was first published in The Sphere on 28 November 1921, and later reprinted in The Garden Party and Other Stories.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

A young girl called Leila has come to the city to stay with her cousins. They are going to a ball. Leila is very excited: this is her first ball. Once there, she is both excited and terrified. After dancing with several young boys her own age, she danced with an wrinkly balding man who has been coming to balls for a while. This spoils her mood until she dances with a good looking young gentleman where her worries disappear.

Characters[edit]

  • Leila, a cousin of the Sheridan Girls in The Garden Party. She is 18 years old.
  • Laura
  • Laurie
  • Meg
  • Miss Eccles, Leila's dance teacher at boarding school.
  • Jose
  • The "Fat Man"
  • the first partner
  • the second partner
  • the third partner
  • the fourth partner
  • the cab driver

Literary significance[edit]

The text is written in the modernist mode, without a set structure, and with many shifts in the narrative. The main themes of the story are very dramatically portrayed through Leila's reactions and her emotions.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Katherine Mansfield, Selected Stories, Oxford World's Classics, explanatory notes

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