British Literature-Katherine Mansfield’s The Garden Party

Katherine Mansfield

Short Story

The shallowness of class distinctions

Main character
Laura (age not given; prob 14-16)

Thoughts of characters themselves blend with the narrator’s

Words to associate with this short story

“And after all the weather was ideal” (opening line)
Picks up in mid thought. Starts with enthusiasm.

About Laura Sheridan
Different from the rest of her family. Even has thoughts about herself being different from the family.

Laura is referred to as
“the artistic one”

Marquee in this story is
A type of large tent for the garden party

What is Laura holding in her hand as she walks out of the house?
Bread and butter “away Laura flew, still holding her bread and butter” because she walked out where all of the working men were. (feeling anxiety)

Does Laura think the working class men are nice?

What does Laura see one of the men (“the tall one” doing?
Picks up a sprig of lavender and smells it; just to appreciate it.

“it’s all the fault she decided, as the tall fellow drew something on the back of an envelope, of these absurd class distinctions”
She decides that she won’t be influenced by the class distinctions.

What does she do to prove she won’t be influenced by the class distinctions?
Takes a bite of the bread and butter out with the men. Believes eating in public is what work girls do.

“just to prove how happy she was/Laura took a big bite of her bread and butter as she looked at the little drawing/she felt just like a worker”

What is Laura’s brothers name?

What is Hose (Josie) doing when she is introduced in the narration?

What is Josie’s song about?
The sorrows and hardships in life. (is she qualified to sing of these things? No)

What did Josie’s face break into?
“A brilliant, unsympathetic smile”

“This life is wary, hope comes to die, a dream, awakening.”
Who has an awakening in this story? Laura.

What character, and in what manner does he share this story?
Godvers man (delivering the cream puffs for the garden party); unsympathetic

What is Godvers story about?
A man tragically dying. “he was the only one seeming to enjoy himself, for it was his story”

“‘I fell just as sympathetic (about the man dying).’ And her eyes hardened.”

Who has misconceptions?
Mrs. Sheridan
Laura (but she tries to overcome it)

When does Laura start to change her mind about cancelling the garden party?
When her mother puts a hat on her.

“And the perfect afternoon slowly ripened, slowly faded, slowly its peddles close”
Describing the garden party

Who is told to take some of the leftover food to the widow? (a misconception of Mrs. Sheridan; tells her to go as she was, in her party dress and hat)

What does Laura say when she realizes her lack of sympathy?
“Forgive my hat” which represents her misconceptions, her lack of sympathy, etc.”

Does Laura really come to understand the point?
Yes; but she can’t explain it (the brother probably didn’t)