The Garden Party By Katherine Mansfield Essay example

1471 Words Oct 22nd, 2015 6 Pages
Title Here “The Garden Party” is both a coming of age tale and a look at the class disparity in New Zealand at the time. The story follows Laura on the day of her family’s big garden party as she interacts with members of both classes and prepares for the big event. It is no surprise that a short story called “The Garden Party” is full of descriptions of plants and various flowers. However, Katherine Mansfield utilizes them for more than just the setting. Each plant mentioned holds a deeper symbolic meaning and no plants are mentioned merely as set dressing of the piece. Often seen as the universal symbol of love, the rose is commonplace in literature from Romeo and Juliet to Alice and Wonderland. “The Garden Party” is not a story about romance, but that does not make Mansfield’s choice of flower in deliberate. At its core, the story is one of class disparity and roses are a grandiose display of wealth. It is imperative that the Sheridan’s have these flowers at their gathering because “roses are the only flowers that impress people at garden parties; the only flower that everybody is certain of knowing”. It is clear from this statement that it is not the mere existence of their wealth that is important to the Sheridan’s but the display of it; the presentation is not for their own enjoyment but rather so that they may impress the guests coming to their garden party. While this affluence represents the ‘us’, the ‘them’ half of the class divide is also represented in the…

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