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In "The Garden-Party", Mansfield challenges general assumptions of social classes by showing that there could be redeeming features among the working class as well as less-than-desirable traits in the upper class. To what extent do you agree?

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Introduction

In "The Garden-Party", Mansfield challenges general assumptions of social classes by showing that there could be redeeming features among the working class as well as less-than-desirable traits in the upper class. To what extent do you agree? To be able to understand Mansfield's work, we have to understand the time in which her work was published. "The Garden-Party" was published at a time when modern-prose was developing and becoming popular. Modern prose was generally aimed at challenging and rebelling against the very shallow and narrow-minded society which existed by speaking of things that were considered taboo. There was a great difference between the upper and lower classes at this time. I do agree that this story challenges general assumptions of social classes which existed the time This story is aimed at scrutinizing and exposing the upper classes through comparing them with the lower classes whose qualities are revealed. ...read more.

Middle

Mansfield makes it clear that the upper class need big publicity stunts to enjoy the simple things in life. For example, Mrs Sheridan needs to have the garden-party in order to buy the canny lilies. She is unable to enjoy life without flaunting as much possible. This is a stark contrast in comparison to the workman who can enjoy the smell of lavender. Another aspect in which the upper class, are stereotyped in this story, is the way in which the children start imitating their mother. Jose enjoys giving orders to her maids without using words like 'please' or thank you. The children are brainwashed and are used to a life of pampering. Unlike the Sheridan children, the cook and other domestic workers are extremely polite to the family. We also learn about the indifference the upper classes have towards the lower classes when Mrs Sheridan exclaims worriedly at the thought of someone dead in her garden but instantly calms down when she realizes Mr Scott has died as though he is of no importance. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jose's lack of respect for the poor is evident and it can be said that Jose in this instance is a representative of the upper class. When Laura forgets her heart with the hat that her mother bribes her with, it is a perfect example of how wealth has robbed the upper classes of their heart. It is ironic how the thought of the mourning family was unreal, 'like a picture' to Laura. That was in fact reality and her garden party was causing her to evade reality. This is when it can be said that the upper class, live in their own world without understanding reality. To conclude, I believe that Mansfiled has successfully managed to provide the reader with redeeming traits of the lower classes while portraying the less desirable traits in the upper classes. Scrutinizing the upper class by their behaviour, portraying the influence wealth has over them, showing us the distance by using Laura are the ways in which Mansfield has achieved this. ?? ?? ?? ?? Karan Kirpalani English Literature 'Garden Party' ...read more.

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