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Everything in their house seems to be alive and open and radiates an inviting spirit, 64 exactly like the description of the nice weather of a perfect morning in early summer 65 and the exotic plants and splendid trees with their broad, gleaming leaves In contrast to this, the atmosphere suddenly changes completely when talking about the poor and their surroundings. The brown-painted shabby dwellings that are covered in deep shade, 67 the dark lane 68 Laura passes and also the pale sky 69 leave behind a strong feeling of discomfort.

This is in keeping with the frightening occurrence of dark and sluggish people, 70 staring eyes 71 and a big dog scurrying by like a shadow Additionally, the air is burdened with disease and sorrow, 73 which underlines the dismal, uncanny atmosphere discribed above. The story is told from a third person narrator who has an insight into the feelings and thoughts of Laura 74 which indicates his limited omniscient perspective. In view of my previous consideration, I decided to subdivide the interpretation as follows.

On top of that she is trying to take away the fear of death with the help of Laura's experiences. Reading the first ten lines of the story one is under the impression of watching the opening scenes of a movie as a result of the beauty and the gleaming that almost remind one of a fairyland.

Despite the fact that she lives in material abundance she feels empty and frustrated. From this phenomenon the conclusion can be drawn that material wealth cannot truly satisfy one as long as it is not combined with richness of soul and heart. As a matter of fact, almost everyone in the family plays a role in their artificial movie, above all Mrs Sheridan who enjoys living in abundance, which comes into view when she orders hundreds of canna lilies just for her pleasure. Especially Mrs Sheridan is seeking admiration, since she enjoys the best of everything.

In spite of all this I am quite sure she is not really aware of the fact that the world she lives in does not reflect reality.

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Possibly she assumes or even knows that there are also negative sides in life, but reflecting on this issue worries her, so she probably decided to take the line of least resistance and remain inside her own artificial world containing happiness only to protect herself from bearing reality. This is in line with her manner of evading discussions and changing the subject or becoming snobby and disparaging when talking about the indigent neighborhood. Her imbalance and capriciousness that show when she unexpectedly begins to order her children around are presumably due to the strain of unconscious pretending.

Maybe she does not like the role she embodies; her disclamation to organize the party and her frustration afterwards hint at the fact that she is tired of her life. In this passage of the story it seems as though Mr Sheridan temporarily interrupted the movie because he reminds the family of the existence of evil. Overall Mr Sheridan seems to be more sensitive and delicate than his wife and does not adapt to the world she lives in. It is probable that he does not even really know of her hypocrisy, because she tries to hide her real thoughts about the occurrence from her husband.

In the course of the story Mansfield uses the image of hats over and over again. In my judgement, she uses them to show the distinctions, among the upper class people like the Sheridans who wear pompous hats with velvet ribbons, 90 the workers who simply put on straw hats 91 and the impoverished who can only afford tweed caps and shawls. When Laura is confronted with the dead man she apologizes for her hat, 95 thus the inference can be drawn that she has acquired a new consciousness which has definitely lasting effects on her further life.

Another image the author uses is flowers, especially lilies appear several times throughout the plot of the story. In my opinion, in this place lilies are a symbol of wealth and abundance and therewith of the world of the Sheridans itself. When Mrs Sheridan orders hundreds of canna lilies to satisfy her desire Laura describes how the flowers seem to grow inside her and take possession of her.

When lilies are mentioned for the last time at the end of the story Mrs Sheridan supposes in a belitting manner to supplementally send lilies to the widow because the poor would be impressed by them. Laura does not agree with the suggestion of her mother since she sees through her, yet she obeys her instruction in view of her authority.

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With regard to the fact that her sisters choose her to organize the party the conclusion can be drawn that they also perceive her differentness. While they just care about themselves they choose Laura because of her creativity and energy. Throughout the plot Laura experiences an inner conflict since she gradually becomes aware of the fact that the world she was raised in is a place of good which lacks reference to reality.

Her love for being outdoors indicates a feeling of constriction inside the house, which stands for the world of the Sheridans.

The garden party katherine mansfield essay

Although she enjoys to some degree taking advantage of the easiness of this world she develops a curiosity about peeking beyond the boundaries in hope of finding genuineness and fulfilling happiness. Presumably she is not yet self conscious and independent enough to stand up for her decisions. As a matter of fact, the relationship between Laura and her mother is pretty close and affectionate, perhaps even too exaggerated for my tastes.

Despite all that, they resemble bad actors in a b- movie that overact their role. Regarding the plot, the buttered bread Laura eats at the beginning of the story is by no means unimportant.


Accordingly, when she has to give instructions to the workers her sandwich embarrasses her and she becomes uneasy since she has never been in contact with ordinary people like the workers and has only learned to be self confident in her artificial world. However, she tries to flee to the latter by imitating her mother but notices her inappropriate tone right away and falls back into childish behaviour.

In that moment she feels like having found people that own the key to the genuineness and happiness she is striving for. Generalizing the image of the worker she is going into raptures and feels deeply impressed and attracted by their way of life.

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Indeed, looking for a person that embodies dreams and being fascinated easily is quite usual for teenagers. The realization of this truth brings about disappointment, which is in line with her sadness when she finds that class distinctions still exist, when everyone stares at her because of her elegant clothing although she has always despised conventions and denied class distinctions. Moreover, she feels like the joy of the party was somehow inside her and would not leave any space for anything else which even increases her distance to the tragedy.

As for matters like these, Laura cannot imagine their coexistence, since she has never learned that sorrow is an inevitable part of life that no one can evade. In this context, the differences of the gardens and also the kitchens, which are often seen as the heart of a house, clearly exemplify the contrast. When being confronted with the dead man something changes inside Laura. The sight of the corpse radiates a satisfaction and fulfillment she has never imagined to exist.

In fact, she realizes that he is above all distinctions and contrasts in possession of the verity and genuineness she has longed for all the time. Both, happiness and grief have their place in life, so there is no use in repressing and denying them like Mrs Sherdian does. Mansfield herself gives explanatory comments on the way she intended the reader to understand her fiction. The diversity of life and how wetry to fit in everything, Death included.

A Review of “the Garden Party” by Katherine Mansfield Essay |

Shefeels things ought to happen differently. First one and then another. How are they divided from each other? And it seems to me there is beauty in that inevitability. With this statement Mansfield hits the heart of the matter. There is no division of good and evil since they are linked to each other and the transitions are fluid. Who arrogates being in a position to define the borders?

To my mind, sorrow is an important feeling that makes one stronger and that often has to be gone through in order to cause good in the future. How often do happiness and success result from preceding losses or progressions that you did not want to occur? This is the way I experienced it; without the hardships and relapses I had to endure in the past I would not have grown and become the person I am today.

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  4. Concerning the handling of death, I agree with Mansfield and her way of denying the fact that death is the most dreadful part of life. In my judgement, all this belongs to the natural process of life. Through personal experiences I am aware of the difficulty of accepting the loss of a young person, especially since he dies much earlier than desired, but in the past I also aquired the certainty that one has to accept the occurrence to be strong enough to carry on.

    There is no use in rising up against things that can impossibly be changed or prevented. Once you have gained this awareness and learned to go on you agree to the fact that happiness and grief can coexist in life. Thorndon - Steps Through Time, Mrs. Stories of Initiation, Klett Verlag, p. Stories of Initiation, Klett Verlag, , Interpretation, p. Essay Instructions : I'd like Lata to be my writer.

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