At the very beginning of Katherine Mansfield’s “Her First Ball”, the protagonist Leila is very anxious about the ball. With the help of writer’s vivid description, you can even hear the sounds of the ball: women are preparing at the ladies’ room, the band is playing a beautiful music, men are watching at smart ladies. The atmosphere is so exciting and unforgettable for Leila, because it is her first ball. Her feelings are so exaggerated because she does not know what to expect. The protagonist looks forward to something very special, something exciting and new, certainly because it is her first ball.
When the bald man appears in the story, Leila changes from excited to a bit passive. The man shares his knowledge with Leila and for one minute he shatters her vision world. “Was this first ball only the beginning of her last ball after all?” (Mansfield 219). But the youthful emotions overcome the pessimistic thoughts as Leila returns to the dance floor and “didn’t even recognize him again” (Mansfield 223). Young girl is blooming with joyful emotions at her first ball with elderly and this situation illustrates everyone’s mature life beginning.
Mansfield gives some kind of foreshadowing in this story using the frequency of the bald man’s appearance. He comes out and disappears several times in this story and it creates an uneasy intuition that something might happen.
Speaking about Leila’s character, it is important to mention that she is very shy, not used to communicating with so many people at one place. She has recently arrived from rural setting. But, because of the excitement she forgets everything. ”She quite forgot to be shy; she forgot how in the middle of dressing she had sat down on the bed with one shoe off and one shoe on and begged her mother to ring up her cousins and say she could not go after all” (Mansfield 234). Leila understood her life was just at the beginning and s...