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Literary Elements

KatherineMansfield utilizes various literary elements in her short story “TheGarden Party.” The story is based luxurious setting and highlightsthe ability of the author to integrate different techniques within ashort narrative. It discusses the childhood home of the Mansfield’sin Wellington. Key among the characters is Laura Sheridan who is thestory’s protagonists. Mrs. Sheridan is the wife of Mr. Sheridan andthe mother to the principal character of the story. Laura’s othersiblings are Meg, Laurie, and Jose. In this paper, the main area offocus will be the themes and characters. Specifically, the study willhighlight how the character of Laura influenced the organization ofthe party. The thesis statement is: “Laura’s curiosity andnaivety set her apart from her siblings.”

Various themescan be identified from “The Garden Party.” With a modernizedsetting for the party, it is evident that the family is classconscious (Mansfield p.3). As a result, they want to be associatedwith those in the upper echelons of the society. This can behighlighted in Laura’s feeling of kinship towards the workers andScotts (Mansfield p.9). Within the story, the omnipresent narratordeclares that the Sheridan children, Laurie, Laura, Meg, and Josewere dissuaded from visiting the poor neighborhood out of fear thatit would degrade their social standings.

Secondly, theshort story focuses on the theme of Illusion vs. Reality. TheMansfield household is stuck in a world of high-quality life such ashousing and food. They are even in a position to hold a garden party.On discovering that her neighbor has died, Laura is brought back toreality. The death of the low-class neighbor is a reminder of theactual nature of life (Mansfield p.10). However, it is differentfrom what Laura’s family is accustomed to. Additionally, the deathof the neighbor leads to a discussion on sensitivity. The chiefprotagonist in the story questions whether it is appropriate toproceed with the garden as earlier planned, with the complete bandplaying music despite the death of a neighbor. She feels that thefamily is being inconsiderate of the loss by proceeding with theirmerry-making activities (Mansfield p.10).

The role of Laurais core to the story. She is used by the author to highlight the mainthemes in the story. Not only is she endearingly naïve, but she isalso pampered and accustomed with privileges due to her family highsocial standing. However, she is the only one among her siblings thathave shown pragmatism and the will to learn. This is evidenced whenshe organizes for the garden party (Mansfield p.2). Laura can beconsidered to favor simpler pleasures of life in comparison to hermother who is associated with extravagance. The sympathetic nature ofLaura is also evident in how she reacts to the news of the death of aneighbor. She shows concern for others around and specifically theplight of the lower class {&quotStop the garden &shyparty, ofcourse.&quot Why did Jose pretend?} (Mansfield p.10).

Despite Laura’scompassion towards others, she is also naïve. Her conversation withthe workmen that have been tasked with the placement of the marqueeis an indication of how ignorant she is about how others perceive herfamily in the given circumstances (Mansfield p.3). Her upper-classupbringing and focus on issues such as the arrangement of flowers andclothes in addition to the preparation of menus seem frivolous. Thedecision by her mother to allow her to organize the party thrills hersince it is likely to elevate her status and popularity {&quotIt`ssome mistake,&quot she said faintly. {&quotNobody ever ordered somany. Sadie, go and find mother&quot}(Mansfield p.5).

In conclusion, itcan be stated that the choice of themes for this story focused onsocial classes, death, compassion, and reality. The character ofLaura is connected to these topics. Moreover, she is different fromher more vapid siblings and mother. Despite her affluent upbringing,it is evident that her curiosity and naivety have set her apart fromother members of the Sheridan family.

Works Cited

Mansfield, Katherine. The Garden Party. 2016. Print

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