Analysis Of The Garden Party

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Do not judge a book by it’s cover, such a common saying which is a perfect way to think of the short story The Garden Party, by Katherine Mansfield. The first thought to come to mind when seeing that title would be a cheerful gathering or maybe a romance, but this story was about none of those. Yes, it talks about a garden party but it has a deeper meaning about challenging society, how the upper class sees the poor and this is all shown through a young teenager who is starting to understand the class divisions in her community. Through Laura, one can see just how difficult it is to challenge the society in which a person live in. Jose displays the difference between the upper and lower class when the narrator says, “Jose loved giving orders…show more content…
In the story the narrator mention how the rich children “were forbidden to set foot there because of the revolting language and of what they might catch” as if their home environment is much more sophisticated and uncontaminated. Not only were the cottages described as “disgusting and sordid,” but the smoke that rose from their chimneys are “rags and shreds of smoke” that did not compare to the “great silvery plumes that uncurled” from the rich home of the Sheridan 's. The imagery described here paints the upper class part of the community in a cheerful way, compared to the grimy picture being displayed for the lower class. After all the narrator states that the cottages are “the greatest possible eyesore, and they had no right to be in that neighbourhood at all.” In the very beginning of The Garden Party, the garden of the Sheridan’s is described as having “hundreds, yes, literally hundreds” of the most impressive flower at garden parties, in the eyes of Mrs. Sheridan. The gardens that the poor people have contained “nothing but cabbage stalks, sick hens and tomato cans,” when comparing the gardens we can see that the rich Sheridan family had showcase gardens where the poor had gardens for a food supply. Not only does the narrator view the property differently, but it is even the work that the lower class people do that the narrator sees as different:…show more content…
In the beginning of the story while setting up for the party Laura ends up being told to help the workers by directing them where to put up the marquee. At first she seems conceded when the narrator states that Laura “felt she could do it so much better than anybody else.” Much to Laura 's surprise she found that after working with the men she is becoming more comfortable around the, and even feeling as though she can be “a work-girl.” The narrator even claims that Laura felt the “absurd class distinction[s]” were at fault for the way that the working class is look at as lesser people than the rich. When hearing of the man death she becomes uneasy. She starts to question whether they should continue with the garden party or cancel it. First she asks her sister Jose who responds in an alarming way that shocks Laura: "Stop the garden-party?” even calling Laura “absurd.” Laura seems upset with Jose, since the death does not seem to affect Jose like it affects Laura. Laura snaps “furiously” at her sister when her sister jumps to the conclusion that the man had been drunk when he died, because like Laura replies "Drunk! Who said he was drunk?," this shows how Laura is able to rationally think about the situation instead of jumping to stereotypical conclusions. There seems to be this pattern even today that poor people are just lazy drunks. At the end of the party when the whole family
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