Katherine Mansfield's Garden Party

831 Words4 Pages
Set in colonial New Zealand, "The Garden Party" falls into two clearly different parts. A lot of the story is about the preparations and the consequences of the garden party, it was organized by the daughters of the privileged Sheridan family. As dawn breaks, Laura goes into the Sheridan's exquisite garden to inspect the proposed site for the marquee. Her encounter with three workers hired to raise the tent is awkward and confused, as she finds herself torn between being a snob and her developing sense of morality. This story is perceived as the difference between life and death, and can sometimes be portrayed in objects. (Death is symbolized by the broken cakes and dried-out leftover sandwiches Laura Sheridan carries to the house of mourning in "The Garden Party." Neurotics, Eccentrics, and Victims…)

Laura, the main character in the story knows nothing of death. She lives in a rich well of house hold. Much to her dismay seeing the dead man is both embarrassing and serene. Nothing like that has ever happened to her. To be her rich self and to see death was hard for her. Laura felt over dressed to see the dead man. Doesn’t mean the world is a beautiful place but to her it is. The gift of sandwiches was ironic because they are rich, the person who died was a worker. (The pattern of contrasts between context and climax is complex: life against death, bustle against repose, middle-class decorum and complacency against working-class unrestraint, enjoyment against gravity, dissipation of emotion against concentration The Rules of Time: Time and Rhythm in the Twentieth-Century Novel.)

When Laura hears of one of the laborers death she debated on whether she should still throw the garden party or not, she was leaning more towards hav...

... middle of paper ...

...ictims: Stories of Character”. New York: Continuum Publishing Company, 1988.

York, R. A. “The Rules of Time: Time and Rhythm in the Twentieth-Century Novel. Detroit: Gale, 2005.

Saralyn, R. Daly. "Chapter 4: "The Turning Point".Twayne's English Authors Series 23. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1965.

Miriam B. Mandel. "Reductive Imagery in 'Miss Brill”. Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 164.Detroit: Gale, 2005.

D'Arcy, Chantal Cornut-Gentille. "Papers on Language &Literature". Ed. Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 81. Detroit: Gale, 2005.

Ben, Satterfield, "Irony in 'The Garden Party”. Margaret Haerens. Vol. 23. Detroit: Gale Research, 1996.

Christine, Darrohn. "Blown to Bits!': Katherine Mansfield's 'The Garden-Party' and the Great War”. Ed. Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 81. Detroit: Gale, 2005.
Get Access