Theme in "The Garden Party" by Katherine Mansfeild

Essay by TalanathasHigh School, 12th grade March 2007

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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 accept that her status was the key to happiness. Throughout the story, under that luxurious hat Laura questions her family's morals. Housing conflicting thoughts of what has been learned and what she believes, Laura creates herself as an emotionally torn young women. She proves to the reader that she is not necessarily a bad person who watches the lower class with only pity and fear, but someone who truly longs to understand what she has been born into.

From the beginning Laura is uncertain about the standards that the different classes adhered to. She does not quite believe that wealth is what makes the superior being, but at the same time lingers under what she has been taught. "Laura's upbringing made her wonder for a moment whether it was quite respectful of a workman to talk to her of bangs slap in the eye." She does not yet know whether or not her family has planted a shallow seed in her mind, or if that's really the way the garden grows. Despite what she knows and should think about the workmen that come to help with the party, she likes them and mingles with them happily. "Oh, how extraordinarily nice workmen were, she thought. Why couldn't she have workmen for her friends rather than the silly boys...