The short story “The Little Girl” is taken from Tulip Series English Book 7 for students of JKBOSE. This post will provide you with Short Story 2 The Little Girl Class 7 Line by Line Explanation. The story“The Little Girl” has been written by a prominent English modernist writer Katherine Mansfield. The story is about a little girl who was afraid of her father. This post is about the complete Line by Line Explanation of Short Story 2 The Little Girl. My previous post was about The Little Girl Short Story Class 7 Summary and Questions. Let’s get started with this post.
The Little Girl Class 7 Line by Line Explanation
“The Little Girl” is a short story about a girl named Kezia who always remained afraid of his father because his father always remains rude to her. But at the end of the story, she realized that his father is not rude but he loves her very much but his way of showing his love is a bit different.
The Little Girl Explanation
To the little girl, he was a figure to be feared and avoided. Every morning before going to work he came into her room and gave her a casual kiss, to which she responded with “Goodbye, Father.” And oh, the glad sense of relief when she heard the noise of the carriage growing fainter and fainter down the long road.
Explanation: The opening line of the story suggests that the little girl Kezia was afraid of her father. Every day before leaving for his work he would visit her room and give her a casual kiss. In reply, Kezia would say “Goodbye, Father”. The act of kissing her daughter before leaving for his work shows his love for his daughter. Kezia would feel relaxed and relieved when she heard the noise of his carriage getting fainter. It suggested that his father was going for his work. Carriages like horse carts were means of transport used in olden times.
In the evening when he came home, she stood near the staircase and heard his loud voice in the hall.
“Bring my tea into the drawing room… Hasn’t paper come yet? Mother, go and see if my paper’s out there and bring me my slippers.”
Explanation: When Kezia’s father would return home in the evening she would stand near the stairs and hear his loud voice coming from the hall.
After he returned home, he would start ordering different things. He wanted tea to be served to him in the drawing room, he would ask for the newspaper, he would ask his mother to go and check if the newspaper was there outside the house and would order her to bring him his slipper also.
“Kezia,” mother would call to her, “if you’re a good girl you can come down and take off father’s boots.” Slowly the girl would slip down the stairs, more slowly still, across the hall, and push open the drawing-room door.
Explanation: Kezia’s mother would call her and ask her to remove her father’s boots in a very loving and praising manner saying that if she was a good girl then surely, she would obey her command. After hearing her mother, she would come down the stairs slowly, quietly and unwillingly because she did not want to face her father as she was afraid of him.
By that time, he had his spectacles on and looked at her over them in a way that was terrifying to the little girl.
Well, Kezia, hurry up and pull off these boots and take them outside. Have you been a good girl today?
“I d-d don’t know, father”
Explanation: When Kezia was pulling off his father’s boot, he was sitting on a sofa in the hall with his spectacles on his eyes. He was looking at her over the spectacles and his way of looking at her terrified her.
Kezia was reluctant in pulling off the shoes and was doing it lazily. Her father told her to hurry up to remove his boots and keep them outside the room. And then he asked her if she had been a good girl that day.
In his reply Kezia while stammering said that she did not know. She was stammering because she was not comfortable talking to his father as she was afraid of him.
“You d-d don’t know? If you stutter like that, mother will have to take you to the doctor.” She never stuttered with other people – had quite given it up – but only with father, because then she was trying so hard to say the words properly.
“What’s the matter? What are you looking so wretched about? Here, Kezia, carry my teacup back to the table carefully.”
Explanation: Kezia’s father also stammered like she did and said if she doesn’t know if she had been a good girl or not. He further said that if she stuttered like that, then her mother would have to take her to the doctor for a checkup. But the fact was Kezia never stammered while she spoke to other people. It was only when she talked to her father she would stammer because she lacked confidence and tried very hard to speak properly and she stammered.
Kezia’s father felt something wrong with her and asked about the matter and also asked her why was she looking so dull and sad. She gave his teacup to her and told her to keep it back on the table carefully.
He was so big – his hands and his neck, especially his mouth when he yawned. Thinking about him alone was like thinking about a giant.
Explanation: For Kezia, his father was like a giant. She feels him so big, his hands and his neck especially his mouth were huge when he would yawn. Whenever she would think about him in loneliness, she would feel as if she was thinking about a giant.
On Sunday afternoons grandmother sent her down to the drawing room to have a “nice talk with father and mother.” But the little girl always found mother reading and father stretched out on the sofa, his handkerchief on his face, his feet on one of the best cushions, sleeping soundly and snoring.
Explanation: On Sunday every week, during the afternoon Kezia’s grandmother would send her downstairs to the drawing-room to spend time with her parents. Grandmother wanted Kezia to have a nice talk with her parents but Kezia often felt that her parents were busy doing their things. Her mother was busy reading and her father was sleeping and snoring. Her parents would hardly spend time with her because they were busy with their own affairs.
She sat on a stool, gravely watched him until he woke and stretched, and asked the time – then looked at her.
“Don’t stare so, Kezia. You look like a little brown owl.”
Explanation: While Kezia’s father was asleep, she was sitting on a stool and watching him carefully till he would wake up, stretch his body and then he would ask the time and looked at her. He compared Kezia to a little brown owl saying that she was staring at him just like an owl.
One day, when she was kept indoors with a cold, the grandmother told her that father’s Chandav was next week and suggested she should make him a pin-cushion as a gift out of a beautiful piece of yellow silk.
Explanation: One day Kezia was not feeling well, she had a cold, so she was suggested to stay at home. Her grandmother told her that it was her father’s birthday in the coming week so she suggested her make a birthday gift for him. She asked Kezia to make a pin cushion for him from a yellow-coloured fabric of silk to make the cushion.
Laboriously with a double cotton, the little girl stitched three sides. But what to fill it with: That was the question. The grandmother was out in the garden, and she wandered into her mother’s bedroom to look for “scraps”. On the bed-table, she discovered a great many sheets of fine paper, gathered them up, tore them into tiny pieces, stuffed her case, and then sewed up the fourth side.
Explanation: Kezia worked hard and stitched three sides of the silk cloth using double cotton (thread of cotton). Now she had to fill this cushion before stitching the fourth side. She was asking herself what should I use to fill the cushion. Her grandmother was in the garden and she searched for pieces of waste paper or cloth to fill the cushion. While searching she reached her mother’s bedroom and found many sheets of fine paper on the bedtable. She gathered the papers, tore them into pieces and stuffed them into the cushion she was preparing as a birthday gift for her father. After stuffing the papers into it she sewed the fourth side of the cushion.
That night there was a hue and cry over the house. Father’s great speech for the Port Authority had been lost. Rooms were searched – servants questioned. Finally, her mother came into Kezia’s room.
“Kezia, I suppose you didn’t see some papers on a table in our room?”
“Oh yes,” she said. “I tore them up for my surprise.”.
“What!” screamed mother. “Come straight down to the dining room this instant.”
Explanation: There was a lot of hustle and bustle in the house that night because Kezia’s father’s speech for a meeting at the Port Authority was lost. The whole house was searched and servants were asked about the same. It was torn into tiny pieces and stuffed into the cushion by Kezia unknowingly.
Kezia’s mother asked her if she had seen some papers lying on a table in her mother’s room.
Kezia was unaware of her mistake and she told her mother that she had torn the papers into pieces to stuff the cushion she had made as a surprise gift for her father.
Hearing this, Kezia’s mother got furious. She orders Kezia to come down into the dining room at that very movement.
And she was dragged down to where father was pacing to and fro, hands behind his back.
“Well?” he said sharply.
He stopped and stared at the child.
“Did you do that?”
“N-n-no,” she whispered.
“Mother, go up to her room and fetch down the damned thing – see that the child’s put to bed this instant.”
Explanation: Kezia was dragged downstairs to the hall by her mother when her father was in full anger walking from one place to another with his hands behind his back. He was very angry with Kezia because he had torn his important speech to stuff her cushion. He stared at her and asked her if she had torn the papers. Kezia was so scared that she started stammering. And then Kezia’s father ordered her mother to go and bring that cushion downstairs and asked her to put Kezia to bed at that very moment.
Crying too much to explain, she lay in the shadowed room watching the evening light make a sad little pattern on the floor.
Then father came into the room with a ruler in his hands.
“I am going to beat you for this,” he said.
“Oh, no, no,” she screamed, hiding under the bedclothes.
He pulled them aside.
“Sit up,” he ordered, “and hold out your hands. You must be taught once and for all not to touch what does not belong to you.”
Explanation: She went to her room and cried laying on his bed. In the meantime, her father entered the room with a ruler in his hand. He told Kezia that she will be punished for her mistake. Hearing this she started screaming and hid under the bedclothes. He pulled the clothes aside and ordered her to sit and hold her hand out. He wanted to teach her a lesson that she should not touch the things that do not belong to her.
“But it was for your b-b-birthday.” Down came the ruler on her little, pink palms.
Hours later, when the grandmother had wrapped her in a shawl and rocked her in the rocking chair, the child clung to her soft body.
“What did God make fathers for?” she sobbed.
Explanation: Kezia tried to explain that she prepared the cushion for his birthday but he was very angry and didn’t listen to her and hit her hands with the ruler.
After a few hours, her grandmother wrapped her in a shawl and was trying to cheer her up. She made her sit on her lap on a rocking chair and she was trying to put Kezia to sleep. And Kezia embraced her grandmother.
She was crying and while crying she said that God should not have made fathers. She was unaware of her mistake and was heartbroken. She was just preparing a gift for him. She was angry and sad because her father didn’t understand her and said that God should not have made fathers.
“Here’s a clean hanky, darling. Blow your nose. Go to sleep, pet; you’ll forget all about it in the morning. I tried to explain to father, but he was too upset to listen tonight.”
But the child never forgot. Next time she saw him she quickly put both hands behind her back, and a red colour flew into her cheeks.
Explanation: Kezia’s grandmother was trying to change her mood. She gave her a handkerchief, to blow her nose in it and asked her to go and sleep. She further said that by morning Kezia would forget everything about the incident of her beating. She further said that she tried to explain this to his father but he was very upset due to this and was not able to understand all the things.
Kezia never forgot the beating that she had got that night for her mistake. Whenever she saw her father approaching, she would keep her hands behind her back out of fear and her cheeks becomes reddish in colour.
Suddenly, one day, mother became ill, and she and grandmother went to hospital.
The little girl was left alone in the house with Alice the cook. That was all right in the daytime, but while Alice was putting her to bed, she grew suddenly afraid.
“What’ll I do if I have a nightmare?” she asked, “I often have nightmares and then grannie takes me into her bed – I can’t stay in the dark – it all gets ‘whispery’….”
“You just go to sleep, child,” said Alice, pulling off her socks, “and don’t you scream and wake your poor Pa.”
Explanation: After a few days, suddenly one day Kezia’s mother fell ill so she was taken to the hospital. Her Grandmother also went along with her mother.
Kezia was all alone in the house with the cook named Alice. She was fine happy and cheerful during the daytime but things changed at the arrival of the night when Alice put her into bed. She started feeling scared.
Kezia asked Alice what will she do all alone if she had a bad dream. She further explained to Alice that she often had nightmares and whenever that happens, she would go to her grandmother and she would sleep with her. She said that she could not stay all alone in the dark because she feels scared. She could hear different kinds of whispering sounds which made her feel that there was someone around her.
Alice told Kezia to sleep quietly while she removed her socks. Kezia’s father was sleeping in the next room so Alice warned her not to scream and wake her father.
But the same old nightmare came – the butcher with a knife and a rope, who came nearer and nearer, smiling that dreadful smile, while she could not move, could only stand still, crying out, “Grandma! Grandma!” She woke shivering, to see father beside her bed, a candle in his hand.
“What’s the matter?” he said.
Explanation: Kezia had that same old nightmare that night. In the nightmare, she would see a butcher who would hold a big knife and a rope. In the dream, she would see him approaching her. He had a dreadful smile on his face. After seeing him Kezia would feel that she was unable to move. She was so much scared of him that she could not move and just cry out for help, calling her grandmother. When she woke up, she was shivering and she saw that her father was standing next to her bed and was holding a candle in his hand. He had heard her screaming and came to see her.
He asked Kezia about the matter. He asked her why was she screaming.
“Oh, a butcher- a knife – I want Grannie.” He blew out the candle, bent down and caught up the child in his arms, carrying her along the passage to the big bedroom. A newspaper was on the bed – a half-smoked cigar was near his reading lamp. He put away the paper, threw the cigar into the fireplace, and then carefully tucked up the child. He lay down beside her. Half asleep still, still with the butcher’s smile all about her, it seemed she crept close to him, snuggled her head under his arm, and held tightly to his shirt.
Then the dark did not matter; she lay still.
Explanation: Kezia was still under the influence of the nightmare. She said that there was a butcher, he was holding a dreadful knife and she was asking for her grandmother. Kezia’s father blew the candle off. He lifted her in his arms and carried her to his bedroom. There was a newspaper lying on the bed and also a half-smoked cigar lying close to a reading lamp. He put away all these things and lay her in his bed next to him and covered her with the top sheets. Kezia felt her father’s affection and so, she went close to him. She snuggled herself towards her father and she held his shirt tightly so that she would not feel scared again. Kezia had overcome her fear of her father.
Now Kezia was with her father, she was no longer afraid.
“Here, rub your feet against my legs and get them warm,” said father.
Tired out, he slept before the little girl. A funny feeling came over her. Poor father, home after all – and with no one to look after him… He was harder than the grandmother, but it was a nice hardness. And every day he had to work and was too tired to play with her. She had torn up all his beautiful writing. She stirred, suddenly and sighed.
Explanation: He asked Kezia to rub her feet against his legs so that they became warm.
Kezia’s father was very tired, he slept before she did. A funny feeling came over her.
Finally, Kezia realizes her mistake and she had affection toward her father. She felt that her father was a poor man. He worked so hard. He was not so big as she found him to be earlier. Now she felt that her father was a poor man who worked very hard and so, he got so tired that he went off to sleep and did not play with her as Mr Macdonald did with his children. But Kezia felt that her father’s heart was also full of love for her. She realizes that she has torn up his important document, the speech that he has written, and all this realization makes sure to take a deep breath. She realizes that she had been wrong and that is why her father had beaten her, he had been so strict with her.
“What’s the matter?” asked father. “Another dream?”
“Oh,” said the little girl, “my head on your heart. I can hear it going. What a big heart you got; father dear!”
Explanation: Although Kezia’s father was asleep, he heard her sigh. He heard the sound that Kezia made and he asked her what the matter was. Was she again watching a bad dream?
Kezia replied to her father that she had placed her head on her father’s heart and she could hear his heartbeat. And she complimented her father that he had a big heart. So Kezia is showing her love for her father as she had realized that her father also loved her.