56 pages 1 hour read

Katherine Mansfield

The Garden Party

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1922

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“The Garden Party”

  • Genre: Fiction; short story
  • Originally Published: 1922
  • Reading Level/Interest: College/adult
  • Structure/Length: Approx. 25 pages
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: Laura Sheridan and her wealthy family are preparing to host their annual garden party, and Laura is in charge of overseeing the workmen. Laura’s eyes open to class distinctions as the workers set up for the party, forcing her to evaluate her own station in life compared to those of the people around her.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Death

Katherine Mansfield, Author

  • Bio: 1888-1923; New Zealand writer, essayist, and journalist; considered one of the most influential writers of the Modernist movement; moved to England at age 19; played cello at Queen’s College; only began writing full time once she returned to New Zealand in 1906; writing explores topics such as anxiety, existentialism, and sexuality; had romantic relationships with men and women; friends with Virginia Woolf and D. H. Lawrence; work was heavily influenced by her brother’s death during World War I; died of tuberculosis at age 35.
  • Other Works: Bliss and Other Stories (1920); The Garden Party and Other Stories (1922); The Doves’ Nest and Other Stories (1923); Something Childish and Other Stories (1924)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • Class Distinction and Class Consciousness
  • Adolescents Playing at Adulthood
  • The Relationship Between Life and Death