Laura’s Struggle For Growth In The Garden Party

2399 words - 10 pages

Laura’s Struggle for Growth in The Garden Party  

    Through her short story "The Garden Party," Katherine Mansfield portrays a young woman’s struggle through adolescence and her tumultuous entrance into adulthood. Mansfield paints a tale of grievance, bewilderment, enlightenment, and maturation furthered by the complications of class distinctions. Mansfield’s protagonist, Laura, encounters considerable hardship in growing up and must denounce all of the puerile convictions in her chimerical world in order to attain maturity in the real adult world.

As does any normal teenager, Laura Sheridan struggles to make sense of her adolescent life. As Don Klein remarks, "The story’s focus—and central dramatic impulse—is the young girl’s secret struggle to grow up" (124). Grappling with excessive inner turmoil, she attempts to erect a unique identity for herself, one set apart from those of her family members. In order to effect such radical transformation, she is first compelled to overcome several major impediments in her life, the most encumbering being her mother.

The overbearing presence of Laura’s mother and her mother’s ideals pose an impending hindrance in Laura’s progression to adulthood. As Laura battles with maturity, she begins shedding the skin of her childhood and hence begins transcending the mold created for her by her mother’s upbringing. Laura also begins to denounce the snug, evasive dream world that her mother has suffocated her in. Mrs. Sheridan intentionally raises her children in this dream world in order that she have complete control over their thoughts and actions without their knowledge. She furthers this dream world by letting them believe that they, and not she, are actually in control. For instance, Mrs. Sheridan leads her children to believe that they are actually in charge of the garden party, despite the fact that her disposing hand is everywhere—planning the food, ordering flowers, and telling people what to wear. Mrs. Sheridan ironically informs her daughter, "My dear child, it’s no use asking me. I’m determined to leave everything to you children this year" (Mansfield 2510). Yet, she does not hesitate to purchase flowers for the party, erect the menu, or even make arrangements for decorations: "Bank [the lilies] up, just inside the door, on both sides of the porch, please. Don’t you agree, Laura?" (Mansfield 2513). By inquiring about Laura’s opinion, Mrs. Sheridan intends to construct an illusory image of Laura’s autonomy, but Laura swiftly picks up on the deception. Laura responds with, "But I thought that you said you didn’t mean to interfere," (Mansfield 2513). Mrs. Sheridan offers no retort to Laura’s remark but does later attempt to reconstruct the illusion of her children’s control of the party and of their own lives: "But oh, these parties, these parties! Why will you children insist on giving parties!" (Mansfield 2518). Thus through banter between Mrs. Sheridan and Laura, Mrs. Sheridan’s false...

Find Another Essay On Laura’s Struggle for Growth in The Garden Party

Fantasy Worlds in The Garden Party and Her First Ball by Katherine Mansfield

1448 words - 6 pages protagonists’ fantasy worlds. Mansfield shows and doesn’t tell. In both the short stories, she plunges you straight into the imaginative and personified worlds of the protagonists and then the plot follows. The detailed description of the “perfect day for a garden-party” depicts Laura’s imaginations and excitement for this whole wonderful occasion. Every little detail such as the “green bushes bowed down as though they had been visited by the

What Laura and Mrs. Sheridan Learned About Life and People in The Garden Party

786 words - 3 pages What Laura and Mrs. Sheridan Learned About Life and People in The Garden Party The Garden Party is a wonderful and enlightening story with several life lessons intertwined behind the fictional characters. Deeply studying and analyzing the text can produce a great deal of thought and from that thought - inspiration. We learn that people can learn from people. Be it by their mistakes or their triumphs. It does not matter the position or

The Struggle For Teens to Fit In

1124 words - 5 pages quite get there, students should recognize that they have a responsibility to stand up for, and help them. Some teenagers, try as hard as they may, struggle to fit in. An example of this is a boy wanting to be part of the Gamers’s group because he plays the same types of games. The thing is he doesn’t feel comfortable enough to come right out and say it. He hangs around with these students in hopes that they will bring it up. The gamers have a

The Struggle for Power in Macbeth

1197 words - 5 pages control, it can sometimes be beneficial or harmful. If a person is careful and wise, having power would be a good thing. They can use it to improve themselves or to help others with selfless acts. But in reality most people are selfish and are not as giving. They only do things that would benefit them, even if that means hurting someone else. In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the struggle for power is presented throughout the play. The

The Struggle for Freedom in Libya

1751 words - 8 pages Freedom: something taken for granted by citizens all over the first world countries. The struggle for freedom all around the world is a very real one. Recently, the fight for freedom has taken the oppressed by storm. All over the globe, there have been many examples of people fed up with corruption and ready to take control of their lives and the lives of their children. This is evident through the struggles for freedom seen in Syria, Egypt

The Struggle For Democracy In China

1891 words - 8 pages longed for ideas such as: an end to corruption, freedom of expression, free elections, accurate news reporting, etc. These were the desires that led to the pro-democracy movement and the events that occurred at Tiananmen Square. The first gathering at the Tiananmen Square was to commemorate the death of Former Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang. Then the official memorial service for him was held in the Great Hall of the People where three

The Struggle For Civil Rights In America

580 words - 2 pages 1. a) Abraham Lincoln - (1809-65) Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. He believed slavery was wrong and encouraged the North America to fight for the freedom of slaves.b) Frederick Douglas - A runaway who wrote a book about his life as a slave and became active in the fall of slavery.c) Rosa Parks - On December 1st, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the city bus. This was a big deal because black people had to give

The Battle for Power in the Garden of Eden

897 words - 4 pages The struggle for power in the world, in life, in jobs or in relationships has been an ongoing theme in humanity. Many philosophers and thinkers have explored humanity's desire to be in control. Hemingway was one author to explore woman's desire (during the early 1900's) to be in control of, or at least equal to, her husband. In "The Garden of Eden" by Ernest Hemingway, the anti-heroine, Catherine, goes to great lengths to gain power in her

The Struggle For Status

1632 words - 7 pages Johnson 1 The Struggle for Status Over the ages the struggle by women to achieve higher status within their societies has been a widely discussed topic. In more recent times, women have fought for voting rights and equal employment opportunities. Even today women continue in an attempt to break down the glass ceiling, which prevents them from earning the same wages as men who are in equal positions. Interestingly enough, the dilemma of women

The Struggle For Equality

867 words - 3 pages The Struggle for Equality Since the turn of the eighteenth century, women as a group have struggled to gain equal rights and the respect that men have had all their lives. Women were terribly discriminated against in a number of ways. One reason for the discrimination is solely based on the non-educated portion of women everywhere. Another reason women were discriminated was due to people seeing them as "men's property" or objects

The Struggle for Education

1668 words - 7 pages , people’s academic literacy does not meet the expectation of college. Rebecca D. Cox states in her article, “The College Fear Factor,” that students struggle in college based on their past experience in kindergarten to twelve grade. When moving to college, students do not understand what their college professor are demanding of them. Students are not put up to speed on how to analyze and interpret text in college. In the article, “The Politics of

Similar Essays

Identity Formation In Mansfield’s The Garden Party

3832 words - 15 pages sentence "And after all the weather was ideal." sounds misplaced, as though it should be in the body of the work, but is effective in grasping the readers attention. Many critics have focused on this opening line, and on the topic of weather as being correlated to happiness or melancholy in The Garden Party. It "…thrusts us [readers] in the middle of a feeling, a relieved, satisfied expectation that the first requirement for an exceptional day

The Garden Party Essay

1027 words - 4 pages English 1205 Take Home AssignmentPrepared by: Julia LoparcoStudent #: A00385431Prepared for: Jackie CameronCourse: ENGL 1205Date: October 7, 201412. Comparing the rich and poor in Katherine Mansfield's "The Garden Party"In the story "The Garden Party" by Katherine Mansfield, many events occur to make the reader think that Laura, the main character has lived a very sheltered and confined life. Coming from a wealthy family, perhaps she was

What Laura Didn't Learn In The Garden Party

1958 words - 8 pages only astonishment. Laura’s world revolves around the finer things in life, garden parties, and flowers, and she has been surrounded by beauty her whole life. Her social class is too ingrained in her for a momentary glimpse of the contrasting life of the lower class to really affect her (Sorkin 445). Laura, the main character of The Garden Party, acts as the narrator and provides a link between the two contrasting forces of the story: the

Theme In "The Garden Party" By Katherine Mansfeild

1052 words - 4 pages Under a crisp blue sky and lush glow of summer sun, thousands of roses burst open and radiate with a beauty that could only grace the presence of clean hands and clear eyes. In the short story "The Garden Party" by Katherine Mansfeild, Laura is grown in high societies garden of self indulgence. Her parents unknowingly set values for Laura and her siblings to be brought up under; the wealthy are to be where the grass is greener. Laura was to