The Garden Party: And Other Stories Questions and Answers
by Katherine Mansfield

The Garden Party: And Other Stories book cover
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Based on "The Garden Party," how do Mansfield's stylistic elements and preoccupations work together to show the idea that the self is ambiguous?

Mansfield uses her preoccupation with social class as vehicle to explore the ambiguous nature of the self. By focusing on the events that unfold in the life privileged young woman over a single day, Mansfield shows how various social interactions change Laura's self-conception.

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In "The Garden Party," Mansfield's preoccupation with social class becomes a catalyst for exploring the idea of an ambiguous self. She focuses on Laura, a young woman whose self-conception changes as she progresses though a single day and experiences a series of jarring encounters. Mansfield shows that the outer, material world of social interactions has a direct impact on Laura's internal self-conception.

In the morning, Laura conceives of herself as a person who has transcended class differences because of her pleasant interactions with the workers setting up her mother's garden party. She decides, based on these interactions, that class differences don't...

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