What types of conflict are used in this piece? In what instances is conflict used?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Conflicts in the story are both internal and external. Once conflict concerns Laura and her family ("man against man").  She wants to learn life from their point of view; she wants to be like them. She admires her mother and her brother enormously, but learning to be like them is not easy for her and she often stumbles, as she does when speaking to the workmen.  This event pertains the larger class conflict (man vs. man) that provides the background to the story, the conflict between the life of comfort of the family and life of hardship of the people in the village; it is that difference in class, and the inability of one class to understand the other, that Mansfield wants to expose. This leads to the internal conflict for the protagonist, for during this party she learns about life and death (man vs. nature), and the weight of that knowledge is staggering.  Her entire background conflicts with the poverty and experience of death that she encounters when she visits the family in the village, and when the story ends, she is not able to resolve it. She comes close to understanding the meaning of death, but it finally eludes her when her brother can only say "Isn't it darling" as she cries to express her feelings.

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The Garden Party: And Other Stories

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