The Garden Party

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “The Garden Party” by Katherine Mansfield. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it.

Presentation of the text

Title: “The Garden Party” (1922)
Author: Katherine Mansfield
Genre: Short story

Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) was a modernist writer from New Zealand. Mansfield settled in England at the age of 19 and befriended famous writers and intellectuals of the time, including Virginia Woolf and D. H. Lawrence. The short story “The Garden Party” was initially published in a gazette, and then in the collection titled The Garden Party and Other Stories


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide:


The simile “the green bushes bowed down as though they had been visited by archangels” (ll. 10-11) describes the rose bushes. The simile highlights the roses’ beauty. 

The simile “stammered like a little girl” (l. 33) is used to suggest Laura’s lack of confidence when dealing with the workers in the garden. Then, the simile “she felt just like a working-girl” (l. 86) highlights Laura’s change of attitude upon observing the workers. It also points to Laura’s inexperience, as she does not know how the working class lives and has only romantic notions about them.

The simile “blurred, unreal, like a picture in the newspaper” (l. 326) shows Laura’s attitude towards Mr. Scott’s death. After she is convinced by her mother to forget the matter, she tries to dismiss the image of the grieving widow and children from her thoughts by distancing herself from the tragedy. 

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The Garden Party

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