“All the same, we cling to our last pleasures as the tree clings to its last leaves” explain the lines from “The Fly”

This comment on human nature is made by Katherine Mansfield in her short story The Fly. This is made in connection with Mr. Woodifield, an old fellow, who is allowed to visit his friends only once a week. The storyteller refers here to the instinctive human attachment to old pleasures by means of an analogy, drawn from the world of nature.

After he has been attacked with a heart stroke, Mr. Woodifield is kept confined to his home, except on Tuesday. Tuesday is his only holiday in a week for relaxation and recreation as he likes. He comes out, visits his friends, and passes his time in his old reckless manner on this very day. In this connection, the storyteller reflects on the nature of man to remain fond of his past habits and manners. Even when he grows very old and becomes inactive for some reason or other, he does not forget his old mode of living. He tries to enjoy it, whenever he gets a chance. His interest yet remains in his old ways and processes of living. Mrs. Katherine Mansfield substantiates her viewpoint by means of the analogy as mentioned already. The human habit of clinging to old pleasures is compared to the attachment of the trees to their last leaves. A tree retains even its dry, dead leaves, till they are shaken off totally. Similarly, men are found to remain fond of their old habits, as long as they live and love to follow their own pursuits even when these are no more appropriate or congenial to their age or situation.

Mrs. Mansfield’s remark here is quite meaningful and signifies much of the characteristic human habit to stick to old things. The analogy in this respect is quite happily conceived. What is more, the sentence has the touch of genuine humour, with a meaningful reference, as already indicated, to human nature.

Also read; Character of the Boss in The Fly by Katherine Mansfield