Synopsis of The Singing Lesson by Katherine Mansfield 

About The Author Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield is a modernist writer who revolutionized short story writing. In her short life, she has written a number of short stories, poetry, journals and reviews. She was a rebel and lived life on her terms as she believed, 'Act for yourself. Face the truth'. Her works explore the thoughts and feelings of ordinary people. She had a grasp on human experiences and portrays them in a realistic and convincing manner.
The Singing Lesson is a thought-provoking story through which the author explores the turmoil in the mind of the protagonist- fear, desperation, sadness and elation are all brought out with great sensitivity and understanding.

Summary of The Singing Lesson

The Singing Lesson explores the feelings of a music teacher thwarted in love. Miss Meadows was on her way to her music classes with pain like a knife twisting in her heart. Her fiancé Basil had conveyed to her through a letter that he was not interested in marriage. Only the other day he had told her that he was purchasing things for their house and this came as a surprise to her. On her way, she met the science teacher, known for her charm, beauty and saccharine sweetness. Somehow she escaped from the other's presence. In the class, she was unduly strict with her students. She never took notice of the flower offered by her favourite student. She asked them to sing A Lament' without expression and then with full expression. They went on and on, became red in the face and some even started crying. She is then informed of another letter from Basil being received. Her mood changed as Basil apologizes for his harsh words. He even bought the hat stand he was planning to buy. She returned to the class in a happy frame of mind. Hiding her smile behind the chrysanthemum she had earlier ignored, she told them to sing enthusiastically a happy song with full enthusiasm and the loudest who was singing was Miss Meadows, glowing with happiness.


gleeful - happy;
grimace - ugly, twisted expression;
aisle - a passage between two rows of seats:
flannel - a kind of soft woven fabric:
baton - a thin stick used by a conductor to direct an orchestra or choir:
chrysanthemum - a plant of the daisy family with brightly coloured ornamental flowers;
disentangling - freeing from something:
staggering - shocking:
fleetly - swiftly, fast:
lament - an expression of grief or sorrow;
shuddering - shake or shiver;
contraltos - the lowest female singing voice:
crescendo - a gradual increase in loudness in a piece of music;
subdued - suppressed;
doleful - sad.
Previous Post Next Post