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Word Count: 2,288
Everything around her is so strikingly new and enthralling It is Leilas first ball and her first exposition to society The main character in this story is eighteen year old Leila who is attending her first ball along with her cousins Leila is extremely excited at the prospect of the dancing and seeing all these people in their beautiful clothes The time span is short as in so many of Mansfields stories There is a third person non-participant narrator but the story is told from Leilas perspective and we follow her thoughts and feelings throughout the events of the ball The characters surrounding Leila are her cousins the Sheridans and her dance partners Already from the first paragraph Mansfield succeeds in what could be called one of her trademarks she jumps straight into the action in media res we are slung into the story with no introduction As mentioned this chapter will focus on the three main developments of Leilas evening beginning with her early enjoyment of the ball continuing with her insight into the harsh realities of life and ending with her recovery Leilas background is not described in details However the reader gets some glimpses of her previous experiences and her childhood We know for example that Leila has grown up in the country and in a rather isolated place As she tells us Our nearest neighbour was fifteen miles 192She has no brothers and sisters and as perhaps been a lonely child She has however been to boarding school and that is in fact her only previous experience of dancing She remembers the corrugated iron mission hall where the boarders practised every Saturday afternoon and she compares these cold rather punishing lessons with the glamour of the present occasion 197 We get a sense of Leilas personality right from the beginning of the story even though she is never really described from an outside perspective She is very perceptive When they
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