Looking at K.Mansfield’s story from the point of the language use between the participants, we come across with variability making the text closer to real usage by means of questions, answers, imperatives,exclamations and so on.
To begin with turn-takings between Rosemary and Miss Smith, it is seen that there are lots of questions and answers:
“May I speak to you a moment?”
“Speak to me?” (And this also presents us a part from an authentic language use by shortening the statement.It is also the indicator of bewilderment of Rosemary against the girl’s behaviour.)
“Would you let me have the price of a cup tea?”
“A cup of tea ?Then have you no money at all?”
“Do you like me?”
And sometimes Rosemary gives answers instead of the girl. She does most of the talking:
“Of course ,she will.”
“...She insisted on going...”(She says to Philip as if it was said by Miss Smith ,herself.)
There are imperatives uttered by Rosemary again ,which proves that she does and gets whatever she wants from helpless people :
“Come ,come upstairs.”
However Miss Smith uses polite requests such as:
“May I speak to you a moment?”
“ Would you let me have the price of a cup of tea.”
Exclamations are used by Rosemary sometimes to express her ideas:
sometimes to present her while thinking to herself:
“How thoughtless I am!”
The story is presented in third person narrative which allows the readers to experience the story through the eyes of Rosemary Fell. This works towards the reader’s understanding of the text through the emotion and the psychology of the character. The narrative’s function is to unveil the close details. This technique is important for the sake of clarity and the cursive running of the text. It has a descriptive attribute meant to swiftly shift through the images and the characters’ minds.
Mansfield’s style of writing involves a high degree of eloquence through carefully constructed language, unusual form and personalised narrative functions. ‘A Cup of Tea’ is abundant in literary techniques whose stylistic effects customize the entire course of the story. Rather than working towards an evident climax, the story’s center of interest is the interaction between the characters and ‘the power of the moment’. The storyline shifts from one image to the other in order to corroborate and empower Rosemary’s psychological profile. For example, the interaction with the shopkeeper, the mysterious lady and even her husband are forcibly induced aspects of her moods and frames of mind, at given times. These interactions are very important because the audience is able to judge Rosemary’s character directly (through her words and actions) and indirectly (through other characters’ eyes).
The form of the story has its origins in the free indirect discourse which allows the narrative to move through the character’s minds. The reader’s engagement with Rosemary is attained through special attention to detail, gestures and the power of the language. Most of the story is conducted through high effectiveness and strength of sensory perceptions. The author uses a lot of adjectives, verbs and nouns to obtain the desired effect of intimacy and involvement. Colours, shapes and gestures are only a few of Mansfield’s tools to create strong atmospheres and moods which identify with Rosemary’s various frames of mind. A strong example is Mansfield’s depiction of London’s weather which works to capture Rosemary’s mental condition. It is exquisite how Mansfield succeeds in creating such a strong image with very little material. In this case, the third person narrative and the succinct depiction of the weather are just enough to describe the mental decadence.