What evidence can I draw that contributes to my understanding of Laura and her situation from page 41 in "The Garden Party"?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Unfortunately I do not have the same edition of this short story as you do so I cannot be sure about which particular part of this tremendous tale you are referring to. However, from your question, you seem to be asking about the character of Laura. It is important to realise that Laura Sheridan is presented as an innocent and naive character in comparison with her sister, Jose, and her mother. One of the key themes is class consciousness, or an understanding of where you fit into your social world in relation to others. Clearly, the Sheridans are an upper-class family in New Zealand society, and the Scott family are a lower class family. Class distinctions are incredibly important in this tale, and yet Laura, whilst she supervises the workmen putting up the marquee, expresses her disavowal of these class distinctions:

It's all the fault, she decided, as the tall fellow drew something on the back of an envelope, something that was to be looped up or left to hang, of these absurd class distinctions. Well, for her part, she didn't feel them. Not a bit, not an atom...

And yet, when the news of Mr. Scott's death is announced, it is clear that others do not share these sentiments. When Laura declares that the party must be cancelled as a sign of grief for the dead man's family, and she contemplates how hideous it would be for the man's wife to hear the music of the band as they celebrate, her sister calls her "extravagant" and "sentimental" and her mother distracts her with vanity. Thus we can see that the theme of class consciousness pervades this tale.

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

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