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The Garden Party – a Short Story Essay

The wonderful short story “The Garden Party” found in Chapter 27 of the book How to Read Literature like a Professor shows the maturing of a young woman. The main character, a vibrant girl named Laura, takes on big responsibilities and sees how hard the world can really be. She goes through a series of test that introduced her to growing up, such as planning a garden party and helping out her neighbors during a hard time. This great story helps one know what it looks like when a situation comes our way that makes us grow up, not in size but in maturity. One of the greatest impacts in life is going through an experience that is so big or impossible to you and being able to get through it to find the deeper meaning. The young girl was given a huge responsibility when her mother said, “It’s no use asking me. I’m determined to leave everything to you… treat me as an honored guest.” Laura had to plan the garden party; deal with the florist, bakery, and the men who put up the marquee.

Wanting to prove how independent she could be Laura not only had to conquer her fears, she had to act tough and make the best garden party to prove to her mother she was capable of it. She wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and be as professional as she could. When the men came to put up the marquee she had a very hard time trying to act older with the workers and trying to show them that she was the one with all the power. The way she acts proves that she was trying very hard to not disappoint anyone, making it seem like she was in control of everything at all times. The second example really finished out the transformation it opened her mind to a deeper understanding. It all started the day of the party when a man down the block had passed away.

When Laura heard of his passing she wanted to cancel the celebration, but due to a talk with her mother, Laura realized that she should just go on with the party and afterward worry about the man and his mourning family. As soon as the party was over she went over and took the leftovers to the family down the block. Despite the crowd of people dressed in black sobbing about the loved one she gathered up all her strength and was taken inside to see the deceased man. When a young girl experiences an event such as the death of someone its life changing; to see the life of someone sucked out of their body and seeing them just lying there as if in a deep sleep is not an easy task for a child to understand yet she got every part of it and even felt for the crying woman and cried herself .

And though she wasn’t familiar with the man she felt for him, she shared the sadness of the family along with the realization that things happen that one cannot control. It not only made her more mature but it also changed the way she saw the world around her. Growing up is not easy and some have more trouble than others, yet the young girl did a exceptional job of putting aside her emotions for time being and just keep going no matter what problems came into her path; there is a time for everything. The amazing outcome of the garden party along with the life-changing experience of seeing a dead man made her see life through different eyes. She showed great courage in every step that she made and proved that she was capable of anything.


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