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Analysis Of Garden Party Short Story

812 words - 4 pages

“Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven”(Yiddish Proverb). These words apply to Katherine Mansfield’s short story, “Garden Party” as she touches on some very controversial points about the social inequality of the Sheridan family with its surrounding neighbors. A great internal and external quarrel over social class rises in the Sheridan family as Laura Sheridan, the daughter, sympathises with the less-fortunate neighbors while her mother, Mrs. Sheridan is the opposite. Mansfield illustrates to her readers the conflict within Laura in various ways, namely, using foil characters between Mrs. Sheridan and Laura, using multiple symbols and appealing to emotion to emphasize her main message of social equality.
Primarily, Mansfield uses the foil characters Laura and Mrs. Sheridan to accentuate Laura’s beliefs in social equality while bringing out Mrs. Sheridan’s opposite actions. After the news of the death of their neighbor, Mr. Scott, Laura feels she “...can’t possible have a garden-party with a man dead just outside [her] front gate”(5) she feels sympathetic towards the family as she knows they will be able to hear their band as they are mourning. On the contrary, Mrs. Sheridan does quite the opposite when alerted of the news, and even more so when Laura tells Mrs. Sheridan of her plans to cancel the party. Mrs. Sheridan strongly believes that “People like that don't expect sacrifices from us.”(6) Mansfield shows the reader how these two characters are quite different from each other. Laura doesn’t want a garden party to be disrespectful of the Scotts, but Mrs. Sheridan believes quite the opposite as she is rude and doesn’t believe the Scotts are on the same level as the Sheridans, being quite lower. This technique highlights Mansfield’s message of social equality
Another main way in which Mansfield presents the battle of social class is by appealing to emotion to further advance the pity partaken on the family of the dead man. This inpart makes Laura even more sympathetic towards the already beaten up family. Mansfield uses this by making the man ‘’[leave] a wife and five little ones.”(5) This exemplifies just how egregious this horrible accident truly was by leaving a poor family with no source of income and now fatherless innocent kids. Later in the story after...

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