March 18, 2005

It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To

So I'm just going along, reading "The Garden Party" by Katherine Mansfield, more or less enjoying the story. I'm just about to turn the page to see how Laura responds to "Isn't it, darling?" when...nothing. The story is over. Who ends a story with a question like that?

Mansfield apparently, and rightly so. I don't think "The Garden Party" was lacking anything; nothing should be changed. Laura didn't need to have some life altering experience or completely abandon her aristocratic ways. It wouldn't have been real or true to life at all. I can imagine Laura, worrying about all the troubles, pushing them aside to think "Oh well" and go on with her life. That was how she was raised, that was what she was taught. Although Laura was perched on the edge of a total turnaround, she didn't take the final jump. She knew, that in the back of her mind, that her life really was better and she should just appreciate it once and for all. She put the blinders back on and went into her sheltered world again. That is what someone in her position would have done then and, honestly, I might have too.

I'm not really sure I agree with Foster's take on the story though. Demeter? Persephone? The underworld? I didn't get any of that! I can see his arguments for the underworld, with the dark images and view of another place, but I can't put the Greek connection together. To me, that's a bit of a stretch. Sorry.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at March 18, 2005 06:38 PM | TrackBack

I had suggested in my blog that the Greek references are going to be almost obsolete soon because kids don't read mythology anymore - I bet no one in our class picked up on the mythology stuff because we haven't really been exposed to mythology. I took a mythology course freshman year of college (back in the stone ages, ya know?) but do you think I remember anything? Hah!

I don't know if I agree with the statement: "She put the blinders back on and went into her sheltered world again."

That was the general consensus reached in class but I figure: the experience touched her - she was crying. The question, I guess, is what she meant by the statement "Isn't life... ?" I like to think that maybe this exposure to real life would have changed her... subtly perhaps but enough that she cried about it. Since we don't really know where she goes from here, it's totally up to speculation. Maybe I'm just a positive thinker?

Posted by: moira at March 22, 2005 12:50 PM

Yes, I think you are just a positive thinker! Ha. No, really, you make a good point. There probably was a change of some sort, albeit not a large one. And it really is all speculation- isn't all of literature really?

Posted by: Nessa at March 22, 2005 05:55 PM
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