Katherine Mansfield’s “The Garden Party”:
True sense of Beauty
Katherine Mansfield’s short story, “The Garden Party,” tells the story of affectionate middle class girl named Laura, who is different from other members of her family. She is the one with soft caring heart but she defies the boundaries and class distinctions existing between middle class and working class at that time (Mansfield, 249)
The story begins with the preparations of garden party. Everybody is busy in preparations of party or getting dressed. Laura loved to arrange things. She was standing with workmen and deciding the place to put marque. She was impressed by the workmen especially the tall fellow who smelled the sprig of lavender. Laura was impressed to see a workmen caring for such thing. Place for marque was decided near karakas trees and workmen began their work. The florist comes with pots of pink lilies which Laura’s mother, Mrs. Sheridan ordered for decoration. Cook prepares the dishes for party and preparations of party were in full swing when Laura saw people gathered near marque. On arriving the spot she learned that a man living in small cottage in the neighbourhood had died.
She thought that the party will now be cancelled due to this accident. She told Jose, her sister about her thought, but Jose was astonished to hear because according to her death of a man in working class do not deserve such sympathy from middle class. Mrs. Sheridan reacted the same way to Laura’s thought of cancelling the party. She then calms down and starts to think that maybe her mother is right. At last the Garden Party turns out to be a great success. After party, Laura’s father, Mr. Sheridan mentions that the man who died left the wife with half-a-dozen kids. Suddenly they decide to give that family the left over stuff of the party. Laura first hesitates but then packs all the stuff in big basket and leaves for poor guy’s house. The road was dark and scary during dusk. She was horrified by...
Cited: Mansfield, Katherine (1983) Katherine Mansfield Short Stories. Printed in Everyman’s Paperback (1983), reprinted 1991. Guernsey press Co. Ltd., Guernsey, C.I., Great Britain (1983). 247-261.
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