In "The Garden Party," what kind of relationship does Laura have with her family?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While we can certainly be sure that Laura loves all her family members--we do love our families regardless of their faults and actions--it is obvious that she is closer to her brother, Laurie, than to her mother. 

Mrs. Sheridan's chief concern for the day is whether or not there will be enough lilies for the party and that the working class man who has died did not do so in her garden where the party is to be held.  She is extremely class conscious and berates Laura for wanting to cancel the party out of respect to the grieving neighbors by saying that the man won't be brought back to life for her sentimentality.  Mrs. Sheridan is standoffish and not very motherly.  It appears that she is more concerned with the party arrangements than she is her daughter's feelings which indicates to me an aloof relationship. 

Laurie, Laura's brother, meets her on the way back from the dead man's home.  Laura has gone there to bring a basket of left over goodies to the grieving family and has been affected by the scene.  Laurie comforts Laura, and although it is not certain if the two understand their feelings or even if the death has changed them, it is clear that they have a close family bond and share a respect for one another and others--regardless of class status.  Laura definitely has a close relationship with her brother.

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

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