What is Mother's "brilliant" idea about the leftover food from the party?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mother's idea was for Laura to deliver the left over food to the dead worker's family.  Once the party ended, the abundance of food, combined with Laura's earlier insistence that the party be canceled in recognition of the worker's death, Laura's mother has the idea of bringing food to the family:

I know," she said. "Let's make up a basket. Let's send that poor creature some of this perfectly good food. At any rate, it will be the greatest treat for the children. Don't you agree? And she's sure to have neighbours calling in and so on. What a point to have it all ready prepared. Laura!" She jumped up. "Get me the big basket out of the stairs cupboard." 

The second part of the "brilliant" idea is for Laura, herself, to deliver it to the family:"Take it yourself, darling.  Run down just as you are. No, wait, take the arum lilies too. People of that class are so impressed by arum lilies."  The idea of "that class" helps to visualize why she does what she does.  Laura's mother ensures that Laura delivers the left- overs herself, perhaps as a way to silence her dissent from earlier.  The idea that Laura's mother had was one in which she is able to present herself as benevolent, something that is undermined with her insistence on "that class."  It is a statement about how the rich see others and how they view themselves in the process.

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

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