Analysis Pages

Syntax in The Garden Party

Syntax Examples in The Garden Party:

The Garden Party

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"It's so delicious to have an excuse for eating out of doors, and besides, she loved..."   (The Garden Party)

Careful readers will notice the shift to present tense in this selection. This shift informs us that we are hearing Laura’s own thoughts. This accomplishes a couple of things: first, it establishes Laura as the main character of the story; second, it establishes early on that Mansfield will fluidly transition between character thoughts and narrative exposition.

"But still one must go everywhere; one must see everything...."   (The Garden Party)

This passage at the end of the description of the cottage row represents an example of free, indirect speech in which the source of the narrative voice becomes unclear. The narration briefly steps away from the story, yet it does not appear to express Laura’s voice. The sentence is prescriptive, a sort of broad platitude.

"Now the broad road was crossed...."   (The Garden Party)

This short, abrupt sentence conveys a powerful moment. Crossings represent a transition from one place to another. On one level, this short, strong statement emphasizes Laura’s leaving her own comfort zone. However, building on previous evidence we can read this on another level. If we recall the shift in tone and the presence of the large dog, then this road likely alludes to the River Styx from Greek and Roman mythology, which when crossed, represents a transition to the land of the dead.

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