The Garden Party Essay

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Rich is an instructor of literature, composition, and gender issues at Marymount Manhattan Col lege. In the following essay, she examines ways in which "The Garden Party" uses contrasts between social classes to illustrate how the classes define each other.

Most criticism of Katherine Mansfield's short story "The Garden Party" concentrates on the story as a truncated bildungsroman—a story of the growth and maturity of a young idealistic character. Critics such as Daniel S. Taylor in "Crashing the Garden Party: A Dream, A Wakening," for example, see Laura's initiation as a passage from the "dream world of her parents and social class to the real world of the Sheridan's neighboring working-class." As Taylor notes, describing the symbolic signifi- cance of the garden party, "The garden party epitomizes the dream world of the Sheridan women, a world whose underlying principle is the editing and rearranging of reality...

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This section contains 2,147 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Garden Party Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Garden Party from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.