The Garden Party: And Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield

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In "The Garden Party," explain Laura's attitude toward the dead man when she saw him.

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lmetcalf eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This scene is a point of climax in the story -- it is the point where Laura can't go back to her sweet innocence, and yet she is not scarred or cynical as a result of her moments with the dead man.  The narrator, in relating Laura's thoughts, uses all of the language of sleep to talk about the death.  The dead man's sister says "'e looks a picture" and that is exactly what Laura sees -- but it is not a negative or morbib picture, it is a picture of sleeping.  She notes that he looks fast asleep and far away from the people in this room, and this world for that matter.  She imagines he is dreaming and would hate to see him awakened because he in his dream/death he is far from the frivolousness of life and the hardhsips of life.  She says his death is a marvel -- something to be inspire wonder and awe.  Her reaction is so unexpected to us as readers that we are left rethinking what think we know about death.  Her inability to express a complete statement about the meaning of life when she talks to her brother in the end represents that as well.  What words make logical sense to convey what she understands now?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In "The Garden Party" by Katherine Mansfield , Laura is a daughter of wealth and aristocracy.  On this special day, the day her family was having an elaborate garden party, a working man who lived at the bottom of the hill, literally and figuratively, died in a tragic accident.  Laura, clearly more sensitive to the human condition, was dismayed  that the party would have...

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