A Response to Katherine Mansfield’s The Garden Party

Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) is remembered as one of the classical writers of English short stories, and it is very much due to her works that the short story gained a full literary status.

In The Garden Party, we meet Laura Sheridan, a young girl living in the rich Sheridan family. She was the youngest daughter in the family. The theme of The Garden Party is very simple. All conversations and descriptions was about the garden party and the death of the poor young man who left his wife and five children behind. The people in the family was divided into two groups by their reactions to the death of the young man Scott. Laura showed her sympathy and tried to call off the party because Scott’s family lived in a cottage near the Sheridan family, but her mother could not understand her and insisted on the party. The party went on successfully as planned. Everybody was having a good time, including Laura. However, when Laurie, her brother, came back from work, showed his sympathy, Mrs. Sheridan changed mind and asked Laura to send a basket of food to the Scott’s family. She saw the body of the young man there and came back in tears. When she met Laurie on her way back, she knew that “life is marvelous.”

I would say that the idea in The Garden Party is how marvelous life is, even a miserable and poor life. In my opinion, the author wants to tell us that it’s important to show sympathy and understanding across traditional class borders.


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