The day, the lawns, and the gardens—particularly the roses—are perfect. Sheridan asks her youngest daughter, Laura, to go outside and give directions to the men who will erect a canvas shelter for a garden party. One of the men bluntly questions the location that Laura suggests for the marquee.
She never wrote a full-length novel, but — taking her cue from such innovators as Anton Chekhov — made the short story form her own.
A few words by way of plot summary first. One of the Sheridan children, Laura — a young woman on the cusp of adulthood — is looking forward to the party and is keen to become involved in the preparations. However, while the Sheridans are preparing for their party, news arrives that a working-class man who lives in the poorer part of the village has been tragically killed when his horse reared up and threw him from his cart.
Laura, filled with sympathy for the dead man and his family, pleads with her mother and siblings to cancel their garden party in light of the tragedy. How can they hold a garden party, with music and guests and laughter, when a family nearby are in mourning for the death of their husband and father?
Laura finds that the rest of her family are not so sympathetic: Laura gives up trying to persuade her family to cancel the party, and retires to her bedroom to get ready before the guests arrive. She decides to go ahead and attend the party, and return to thinking about the recent tragedy afterwards.
The garden party itself is treated in the space of a few short paragraphs. She is encouraged to go in and see him a bit weird, thatand when she does she is overcome with an odd feeling — not of sadness, or of despair, but of … happiness.
She leaves the house, finding that her brother Laurie has come to look for her. As they walk back home together, Laura tries to put into words how she feels. She cries, but whether they are tears of joy or sadness remains unstated. The story ends with Laura trying to convey to her brother how she feels about life, but finds she cannot think of the words.
A simple yet complex story, this. As that summary suggests, the plot is straightforward, but the meaning — as with much modernist literature — remains elusive and open to question.
Why does Laura change her mind about the party when she spies herself in the mirror, dressed up in her party outfit and her nice new hat? Laura seems to gain an awareness of herself in the world at this moment, to see herself as others see her, and to desire, almost for the first time, to be admired, talked about, and desired by other people at the party.
From this, later revelations flow — such as the realisation that he barely knows his own wife. Such a moment might also be compared with the closing lines of the story, when Laura has the surprising response to the sight of the dead man: There are no simple answers to this, but one way to suggest persuasive solutions to this is to look at how such a moment interacts with earlier moments in the story.
At the same time, she is aware that once people enter adulthood their lives tend to harden into routine, their personalities concretising into particular roles: Her mother exemplifies this, with the way she makes snap decisions and bosses around the servants.They could not have had a more perfect day for a garden-party if they had ordered it.
Windless, warm, the sky without a cloud. Only the blue was veiled with a haze of light gold, as it is sometimes in early summer. “The Garden Party,” written by Katherine Mansfield, was published in the literary magazine the Weekly Westminster Gazette in February in an effort to promote the author’s larger short story collection The Garden Party and Other Stories published by Constable and .
In The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield we have the theme of connection, class, isolation, conflict and denial. Taken from her collection of the same name the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Mansfield may be exploring the theme of isolation.
A summary and analysis of Katherine Mansfield’s classic short story ‘The Garden Party’ () is probably Katherine Mansfield‘s best-known and best-loved story.
She never wrote a full-length novel, but – taking her cue from such innovators as Anton Chekhov – made the short story form her own. The Garden Party is a short story by the New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield. It was first published in in the “Westminster Gazette” in three parts.
Katherine Mansfield is known mostly for her short stories, many of which are quite astute/5. “The Garden Party,” written by Katherine Mansfield, was published in the literary magazine the Weekly Westminster Gazette in February in an effort to promote the author’s larger short story collection The Garden Party and Other Stories published by Constable and Co., which prominently featured the titled story.