A Cup of Tea by Katherine Mansfield

A Cup of Tea text (pdf with line numbering)

A Cup of Tea with Notes (pdf)

Close Reading Questions

  1. What images and ideas are associated with the act of sharing a cup of tea?
  2. The opening sentence focuses on Rosemary’s appearance.  From whose point of view is Rosemary described.
  3. What is implied from the description of Rosemary’s parties?
  4. Describe the antique enamel box that Rosemary is shown in the antique shop in Curzon Street.
  5. What detail in paragraph three on page 346 emphasises Rosemary’s vanity?
  6. Describe, using brief quotations how Rosemary feels in the cold wet afternoon outside the shop.
  7. Write down three figurative expressions from the paragraph of the top of page 347 and say what they suggest.
  8. Why does Rosemary wish “she had the little box …….. to cling to?
  9. How is the young woman who asks for a cup of tea described?
  10. Describe Rosemary’s reaction to this request, after her initial astonishment.
  11. Re-read the second half of page 348.  Write down key phrases/sentences which describe Rosemary’s intentions in bringing Miss Smith home.
  12. Comment on the sentence “The great thing was to be natural”.
  13. Mansfield describes in detail the time that Rosemary and Miss Smith spend together in Rosemary’s bedroom.  Using brief quotations write down all of the details that suggest that Rosemary’s treatment of Miss Smith was insensitive.
  14. How does Rosemary describe Miss Smith to Phillip?
  15. Describe how Rosemary responds to Phillip’s comments on Miss Smith’s looks.
  16. What is significant about the amount of money that Rosemary gives to Miss Smith?
  17. How does Rosemary describe Miss Smith’s departure to her husband?
  18. Copy out the last sentence of the story.  What does it tell us about Rosemary?
  19. How is time treated in the story?
  20. What contrasts are obvious?