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Laura’s Struggle for Growth in The Garden Party

Laura’s Struggle for Growth in The Garden Party

Through her short story “The Garden Party,” Katherine Mansfield portrays a young woman’s struggle through adolescence and her tumultuous entrance into adulthood. Mansfield paints a tale of grievance, bewilderment, enlightenment, and maturation furthered by the complications of class distinctions. Mansfield’s protagonist, Laura, encounters considerable hardship in growing up and must denounce all of the puerile convictions in her chimerical world in order to attain maturity in the real adult world.

As does any normal teenager, Laura Sheridan struggles to make sense of her adolescent life. As Don Klein remarks, “The story’s focus—and central dramatic impulse—is the young girl’s secret struggle to grow up” (124). Grappling with excessive inner turmoil, she attempts to erect a unique identity for herself, one set apart from those of her family members. In order to effect such radical transformation, she is first compelled to overcome several major impediments in her life, the most encumbering being her mother.

The overbearing presence of Laura’s mother and her mother’s ideals pose an impending hindrance in Laura’s progression to adulthood. As Laura battles with maturity, she begins shedding the skin of her childhood and hence begins transcending the mold created for her by her mother’s upbringing. Laura also begins to denounce the snug, evasive dream world that her mother has suffocated her in. Mrs. Sheridan intentionally raises her children in this dream world in order that she have complete control over their thoughts and actions without their knowledge. She furthers this dream world by letting them believe that they, and not she, are actually in control. For in…

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… the daily life struggles of an average teenager, but also, on a more personal level, she gives insight into her own adolescent hardships as well.

Works Cited

Davis, Robert Murray. “The Unity of ‘The Garden Party.’ “Short Story Criticism 23 (1993): 128-30.

Klein, Don W. “’The Garden Party’: A Portrait of the Artist.” Short Story Criticism 23.(1993): 123-8.

Mansfield, Katherine. “The Garden Party.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 6th ed. Ed. M. H. Abrams. New York: Norton, 1996. 2510-20.

Taylor, Donald S. “Crashing the Garden Party: A Dream-A Wakening.” Short Story Criticism 23 (1993): 121-2.

Walker, Warren S. “The Unresolved Conflict in ‘The Garden Party.’” Short Story Criticism 23 (1993): 119-21.

Weiss, Daniel A. “Crashing the Garden Party: The Garden Party of Proserpina.” Short Story Criticism 23 (1993): 122-1.

Honor in Henry IV, Part One

Honor in Henry IV, Part One

In Henry IV, Part One Shakespeare revels in the opportunity to suggest the idiosyncracy of character through his command of a wide range of both verse and prose. As a result the play is full of rich and different character parts (Wells 141). Two in particular, Falstaff and Hotspur, hold diverse beliefs concerning the main theme of the drama, honor. In Shakespeare’s time, honor was defined as the special virtues which distinguish those of the nobility in the exercise of their vocation–gallantry in combat with a worthy foe, adherence to the accepted code of arms, and individual loyalty to friends, family, and comrades in arms (Prior 14). Throughout the play, honor plays an important role in differentiating characters, yet, ultimately the reader ponders what place can honor have in a world in which subjects rebel against a usurper king whom they placed in office, the prince plays at robbery with a dissolute knight, and the contending parties in government seem guided by “policy” rather than “principle”? (Prior 14). The reader is invited to think about the concept of honor in a variety of contexts as it pertains to the different views of Falstaff and Hotspur. The pursuit of honor is Hotspur’s chief motivation and goal, yet his obsessive commitment becomes dangerous as the quest for honor blinds him from all else. Falstaff’s concept of honor directly contrasts that of Hotspur: to Falstaff, honor is rejected due to its limitations of life and seen as empty and valueless. To Hotspur, honor is more important than life itself, and his blind pursuit of honor ultimately drives him to his death. While he stands for images and ideals, Falstaff hacks at the meaning of honor until he has stripped it to almo…

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…wed as the first satirist, poking fun at not only commoners and rebels, but also the institution of monarchy. Shakespeare’s fascination with the various idiosyncracies of Hotspur and Falstaff allows him to portray diversity concerning the perception of honor.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. Henry IV, Part One: Bloom’s Notes. New York: Chelsea House, 1996.

Cruttwell,Patrick. Hernry IV. Shakespeare For Students, Vol. II. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1999.

Kantor, Andrea. Henry IV, Part One. London: Baron’s Education Series, Inc, 1984.

Princiss, G.M. Henry IV Criticism. Shakespeare For Students, Vol.II. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1999.

Prior, Moody E. The Drama of Power: Study in Shakespeare’s History Plays. Shakespeare For Students, Vol. II. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1999.

Wells, Stanley. Shakespeare: Life in Drama. New York: Norton

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