Please help with some examples of first and third person as well as the multipersonal views that Mansfield uses in "The Garden Party."

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Let us remember that Mansfield writes as an omniscient narrator in this brilliant short story. There is therefore no use of the first person. You are right, however, in indicating that she uses a "multipersonal view" in the way that she presents us with the opinions and thoughts of a number of different characters. The main focus of this story is of course on the central character of Laura, and her thoughts and feelings before, during and after the garden party, but at the same time at various points the narrative includes the thoughts of other characters, such as Laura's mother and sister, especially when Laura feels that the garden party should be cancelled because of the death that has occurred. Note, for example, the response of Laura's mother to her daughter's pleas:

"You are being very absurd, Laura," she said coldly. "People like that don't expect sacrifices from us. And it's not very sympathetic to spoil everybody's enjoyment as you're doing now."

In response to Laura's idealism and naivety, Laura's mother expresses a very different approach to the issue, and thereby presents the theme of class consciousness through her response to Mr. Scott's death.

Therefore the point of view in this story is third person limited, as it focuses on the character of Laura, but at the same time, we can see that Mansfield is careful in the narrative to present us with different views that stand in sharp contrast to Laura's idealism.

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

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