Compare the Methods Used to Present a Similar Theme in Two Short Stories You Have Studied

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The two short stories I have studied are The Garden Party and The Doll's House, both written by Katherine Mansfield. The main theme in both short stories conveys the idea of class conflict. This general theme has been broken down into similar focus points in each story. The Garden Party addresses the insensitivity of the rich thinking that the poor have no feelings whereas The Doll's House refers to the society's acceptance of cultural and economic boundaries. The various methods that have been used to present these emotional aspects of class conflict have been used effectively though somewhat differently in each text.

All is well as the Sheridans are enjoying their posh Garden Party until they hear of Mr Scott's death, which plays an important part in the development of class conflict. Laura being the only thoughtful member of the Sheridans asks for the party to be called off but Mrs Sheridan's shallowness and insensitivity becomes apparent when she demands that the party must go on for "It‘s only by accident we‘ve heard of it." The Sheridans are living in luxury with all their wants fulfilled effortlessly because they are of higher class. Their neighbour the Scotts on the other hand are of lower class but do not long for a lavish lifestyle either. However Mrs Sheridan is oblivious of this when she prepares a needless gift basket: "People of that class are so impressed by arum lilies." Truth is that none of the superficial things are important to the Scotts. As Laura approaches Mr Scott, she realises the true beauty of life: "What did garden parties and baskets matter to him?" and becomes content with understanding: "This is just as it should be. I am content."

The less privileged Kelveys in The Doll's House are excluded from all the other girls in school. No one will give them a chance except for Kezia. Mansfield voices her attitudes and understanding through Kezia, the only character in the story who sympathises the vulnerable Kelveys. Social hierarchy...
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