The Garden Party Analysis

Topics: Parties, Black-and-white films, Social class Pages: 10 (3908 words) Published: August 27, 2013
"The Garden Party" is a 1922 short story by Katherine Mansfield. It was first published in the Saturday Westminster Gazette on 4 February 1922, then in the Weekly Westminster Gazette on 18 February 1922. It later appeared in The Garden Party: and Other Stories.[1] Its luxurious setting is based on Mansfield's childhood home at Tinakori Road, Wellington. Plot summary

The Sheridan family is preparing to host a garden party. Laura is supposed to be in charge but has trouble with the workers who appear to know better, and her mother (Mrs. Sheridan) has ordered lilies to be delivered for the party without Laura's approval. Her sister Jose tests the piano, and then sings a song in case she is asked to do so again later. After the furniture is rearranged, they learn that their working-class neighbor Mr. Scott has died. While Laura believes the party should be called off, neither Jose nor their mother agree. The party is a success, and later Mrs. Sheridan decides it would be good to bring a basket full of leftovers to the Scotts' house. She summons Laura to do so. Laura is shown into the poor neighbors' house by Mrs. Scott's sister, then sees the widow and her late husband's corpse. She is enamored of the young man, finding him beautiful and compelling, and when she leaves to find her brother waiting for her she is unable to complete the sentence, "Isn't life..." Characters in "The Garden Party"

Mrs. Sheridan, Mr. Sheridan's wife and mother of Laura, Laurie, Meg, and, Jose. She is in charge of the household on a daily-basis. Mrs Sheridan lives with her husband and her six children in a homestead in a wealthy neighborhood. Her personality can be described as superficial which shows in her manner to care for clothes and exterior features only. Instead of being warm hearted and concerned about others, she is only worried about herself and her own property and prestige. Mrs Sheridan appreciates luxury greatly and enjoys abundance, thus she cannot imagine living in a state of need and even demonstrates this dull attitude in a snobby and superiority-showing manner. As a result of her preconceived opinion about the workers, she does not allow her children to have contact with them. Another characteristic is her way of refusing to admit her faults and of always placing blame on others. This is in line with her endeavor to evade discussions by changing the subject or simply taking advantage of her authority. Additionally, her capriciousness and hypocrisy shows in overacted affection for her children on the one hand and arbitrarily ordering them around on the other hand. •Laura Sheridan, Mrs. Sheridan's daughter (and the story's protagonist) •The workers, who put up a marquee in the garden

Mr. Sheridan, Mrs. Sheridan's husband and father of Laura, Laurie, Meg, and, Jose. On the day of the party, he goes to work but joins the party later that evening. •Meg Sheridan, a second daughter

Jose Sheridan, a third daughter. Jose is Laura's class-conscious older sister. She takes a dim view of Laura's wish to cancel the garden party when she tells Laura that she "won't bring a drunken workman back to life by being sentimental." •Laurie Sheridan, a son; brother to Laura

Kitty Maitland, a friend of Laura and a party guest
Sadie, a female house servant
Hans, a male house servant
The florist, who delivers lilies ordered by Mrs. Sheridan •Cook, The Sheridan's cook is a nurturing figure, allowing Laura and one of her sisters to indulge in eating rich cream-puffs that have been delivered for the garden party just after they finish breakfast. •Godber's man, the delivery-man who brings in the cream puffs •Mr. Scott, a lower-class neighbor who has just died

Em Scott, the deceased's widow
Em's sister
Mr. Scott- neighbor

The protagonist, Laura, is an idealistic and sensitive young girl. She is surrounded by her more conventional family: her sister, Jose, who, as the narrator tells us, "loved giving...
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