“He took out his handkerchief and passed it inside his collar. For the life of him he could not remember.” Explaon it from “The Fly” by Katherine Mansfield

This passage forms the concluding sentence of Katherine Mansfield’s short story The Fly. This comment is made in connection with the mental state of the boss after the death of the fly. The author particularly signifies here boss’ exasperated state of mind.

The fly succumbs ultimately as a result of the boss’ cruel play to test its stamina to withstand the reverses of misfortune. The death of the fly, however, proved extremely shocking to him and seemed to signify his own wretchedness against the cruelty of destiny. He felt completely confounded and exhausted, caused by the severe strain on his mind. He was restless began to sweat in exhaustion and put his handkerchief inside his collar. He seemed to have lost his sense of reality and could not remember even what he had been thinking about so long. An absolute forgetfulness appeared to possess him thoroughly.

The expression is a precise revelation of the psychology of the boss who was tormented deeply within by his profound grief for his dead son. It subtly indicates the vacuum that sorrow caused in his mind. The utter oblivion in his mind has a befitting and delicate tragic note.

Also read; Comment on the role and nature of the minor characters in Araby by James Joyce