The Garden Party: And Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield

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In The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield, How has Laura grown? What has she learned from her day and how does she mature from her experience? Also, What could we predict for her future after that day?

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The way Laura grows in "The Garden Party" is by experiencing the first paradigm shifts of her life. Rather than changing the way that she sees life by going through a ceremonial "coming of age" rite, such as the comparable character of Leila in Mansfield's other short story "Her First Ball", Laura's change clearly comes from within. Perhaps she was "ready" indeed to undergo an important change; an event much more important than the mere occupation of taking charge of a garden party. Yet, this was the pivotal event that set Laura's fate in motion. 

Laura starts her day in a typical way: expecting things to happen on their own, within a set order, a set hierarchy, set rules, and set roles. The first shift is that of role, as she no longer is treated as a young guest of the garden party, and is asked by Meg to take over the lead, as she couldn't possibly speak to the working men. Therefore, here we see Meg, the one person expected by the mother to take charge, delegating this role to Laura.  

Like a natural, Laura jumped into the task but still could not believe her capability of talking to the men, taking charge of something, and acting on behalf of her mother. 

Oh, how extraordinarily nice workmen were, she thought. Why couldn't she have workmen for her friends rather than the silly boys she danced with and who came to Sunday night supper? She would get on much better with men like these.

Laura also does other things: She gets to experience death for the first time, as a carter dies and she wants to show respect by proposing that the party is postponed.

Shocked by the proposal, the response of the mother is to give her a fancy, "grown-up" hat to wear to the party. While the hat symbolizes the...

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