Looking at the plot in a garden party
The Sheridan family is arranging a Garden Party a beautiful sunny day. In the poorer neighbourhood across the street, a young man gets killed in an accident. When the young girl Laura hears about this, she wants the garden party cancelled to show some respect for the exposed family. Laura speaks with her sister and her mother about cancelling the party, but she is not taken seriously by them.
Laura is put into rather tough situation, when both her mother and sister opposes her. She tries to consult with her somewhat older brother, but he draws the attention from the accident to Laura s new enchanting hat. She is greatly flattered. Laura tries to repress the accident, by saying to herself that she would think of it after the party. She tries to enjoy herself, but you can sense that she enjoyed herself with a rather bad conscious, probably thinking, What have I done? Why didn t I stop the party? What will the family of the killed man think?
After the party there are some leftovers. Mrs Sheridan suggests that they can give the exposed family some food to show some sympathy. Laura isn t sure if this is the right thing to do, but she gets the task to give the basket filled with sandwiches to the poor family.
Laura isn t certain if the poor family will appreciate the gift. When walking to the house, she is afraid of their reaction. This isn t something she is used to do. She hasn t been in touch with people in poverty before. What will they think? A well dressed upper class girl, coming to their house and thinks that a basket of sandwiches will replace a dead husband? But she continues her walk to the house. She meets with the young widow, and her dead husband. Laura looks at the young man and understands that he didn t care about the garden party or the load music that it caused. It looks as if the man lying in the bed is in a peaceful eternal sleep, which Laura finds beautiful.
The story The Garden Party is taken from a true story, which took place in the author s childhood. Laura, the main character, is probably Katherine Mansfield herself. Katherine Mansfield wrote the story in the later part of her life.
Related Essays on Communism