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

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

aszerdi | Student

Laura is first introduced in "The Garden Party" as the most artistic individual. This character trait suggests her affinity for simple and natural things as one component of artistry is the ability to see what is beautiful and remarkable in the ordinary and plain.

'"You'll have to go, Laura; you're the artistic one."

     Away Laura flew, still holding her piece of bread-and-butter. It's so delicious to have an excuse for eating out of doors, and besides, she loved having to arrange things."

In the previous passage, Laura also demonstrates a deep appreciation for simple pleasures, such as being able to enjoy eating a piece of bread-and-butter outside while walking to her destination. Upon encountering some workmen and experiencing a slight amount of embarrassment and intimidation, Laura feels comforted when she begins to appreciate their friendly smiles. She immediately begins to admire the lovely morning as well, but she also reminds herself to remain bussinesslike.

"His smile was so easy, so friendly that Laura recovered. What nice eyes he had, small, but such a dark blue! And now she looked at the others, they were smiling too. "Cheer up, we won't bite," their smile seemed to say. How very nice workmen were! And what a beautiful morning!"

Laura also takes the time to admire one workman who also shares her appreciation for simple things. Her admiration reveals not only a love for what is simple but also for what is natural.

"Only the tall fellow was left. He bent down, pinched a sprig of lavender, put his thumb and forefinger to his nose and snuffed up the smell. When Laura saw that gesture she forgot all about the karakas in her wonder at him caring for things like that - caring for the smell of lavender. How many men that she knew would have done such a thing? Oh, how extraordinarily nice workmen were, she thought."

Laura sees this behavior, sniffing the lavender, as something rare and uncommon thus making it precious and extraordinary. Her aversion to extravagance and the subtle assertion that she has never cultivated an extravagant appearance before furthers her devotion to simple things.

"There, quite by chance, the first thing she saw was this charming girl in the mirror, in her black hat trimmed with gold daisies, and a long black velvet ribbon. Never had she imagined she could look like that. Is mother right? she thought. And now she hoped her mother was right. Am I being extravagant? Perhaps it was extravagant."

Read the study guide:
The Garden Party: And Other Stories

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question