Millie (short story)

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Millie is a 1913 short story by Katherine Mansfield. It was first published in The Blue Review in June 1913.[1]

Plot introduction[edit]

Mr. Williamson has been murdered, supposedly by an English handyman. Millie's husband and several other men plan to avenge his death.

Plot summary[edit]

Millie is alone in her house, as her husband and the other men have gone to find Harrison, an English handyman who has supposedly killed Mr Williamson. After looking at her wedding pictures in Mount Cook, she hears a noise coming from the garden and finds a wounded man lying there. She offers him food and realises it is Harrison; she decides to feed him anyway when she sees how beleaguered he comes across. Millie sees that he is just a boy and that awakes a maternal instinct in her. She vows that he will go free.

The men later come home and have settled down from the night when they hear a noise outside. It is Harrison attempting to escape from his hiding place by riding Sid's horse. Immediately, they decide to chase him on foot. Millie's final, shrieked reaction to the pursuit is ambiguous; it is not clear whether she is gleeful at their futile attempt to catch Harrison, or whether she has had a change of heart and, in the heat of the moment, is spurring the hunters on.

Literary significance[edit]

The text is written in the modernist mode, without a set structure, and with many shifts in the narrative.

Footnotes[edit]

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