Mr. Woodifield is an efficient foil
The short story The Fly by Katherine Mansfield takes place in an Office in England post WW1. In this story we see two different characters both dealing with problems. The boss lost his son and Woodifield lost his freedom in some ways. The theme of this story is the struggle with internal conflict can lead to difficult choices. Mr. Woodifield is an effective foil, some of his characteristics such as: his age, his economic status and his lack of control over is life help us understand the theme. These three things are what make Woodifield a very efficient foil. The main character in the story which is the boss is characterized as caring about the reputation of his business, not greedy and refined.
One of the things that make Woodifield an efficient foil is his age. He is five years younger than the boss. So they are not too distant apart in their age. This makes the boss listen to and be intrigued by the things that Woodifield has to say. They basically have all they can get in life and from then on it is pretty much clear what would happen. This is not a young man and an older man situation. In this case both are aged men that are talking. Also the friendship affects how they communica
He has, from Windsor Castle, a very expensive kind of whisky usually reserved for the Royal Family, and he is fat which at that time was only probable if you were very wealthy because the war had caused a shortage of foods. This shows his internal struggle with the loss of his son and the fact that he felt his life is useless as he was living it for his son. He has worked in the business for so long that he has adapted a business attitude and a good sense of how to run a business. He wanted his son to have the best and look as though he came from a good father even if he himself did not have that kind of childhood. It is not just and employer-employ relationship it is more than that, they seem to be friends. The fly is a symbol of his struggle because the fly struggles with the ink. He had a new carpet, new furniture, electric heating which is the most expensive kind of heating. This however was hard as his whole life was designed for some body else who in the end could not take over it. He can afford green-leather armchairs which first of all were leather and second were dyed so that would make them expensive. All this sacrifice was for nothing in the end and the boss realizes that, which makes it so hard for him to decide whether to deal with his internal struggle or live with it and the idea that his son is still alive. He looks at the fly and sees that he himself has two choices either fight like the fly or die. " he is treated as a child and kept isolated in a room. Also he can afford to pays ten francs for jam. " Now that his son is dead he has nothing to live for.