illustration of Laura wearing her mothers hat and holding a basket with a shadowy figure behind her

The Garden Party: And Other Stories

by Katherine Mansfield

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Give examples of Laura's love of simple and natural things.

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A significant part of Laura's characterization is her love of simple and natural things.  The opening line of the story is one that Laura shares and understands:  "AND after all the weather was ideal. They could not have had a more perfect day for a garden-party if they had ordered it. Windless, warm, the sky without a cloud."  Laura shares this idea and carries it with her throughout the narrative.  The love of the natural world, and the day, itself, is a part of her understanding throughout the day. While she struggles with issues of life and death, she does so under the reverence of a beautiful day.  It is this collision of imagery that helps to foster her final question at the end of the narrative.

Laura's entire discussion of where the marquee should be placed in order to accentuate the aesthetic value of the backyard is another example of her love of simple and natural things.  Laura believes that beauty in the world is possible.  It can be accomplished through through the placement of a marquee.  Laura recognizes that beauty in the world does not necessarily have to be transcendent.  It can be seen in the mere placement of a marquee.

Finally, I think that Laura's love of simple and natural things is most evident in her reaction to Mr. Scott's death.  Laura shows herself to revere the natural and simple love of life, something that should be honored in the midst of its loss.   Laura recognizes that there must be a delay to the garden party as a result of the news. It is her love of simple and natural things, such as the emotions of human beings that inspires her to take the stand that she does: "But listen, mother," said Laura. Breathless, half-choking, she told the dreadful story. "Of course, we can't have our party, can we...The band and everybody arriving. They'd hear us, mother; they're nearly neighbours!"  Laura's love of simple and natural things such as the connections that exist between human beings inspires her to reject having the party.  She believes that human connection should transcend ceremony, something that reflect a love of natural things and simplicity in life.

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