Analysis of the Narrative Perspective of Katherine Mansfield’s “The Garden Party”

Zhongju Huang, Xiaoxuan Feng


Katharine Mansfield is a successful female writer in the literary history of the 20th century, who marks a new period of English short stories. She uses tremendous modernistic techniques and digs deep beneath the surface of life to show the causes of human happiness and despair in her works. “The Garden Party” is one of her most famous and representative short stories. Previous studies have mostly focused on its artistic methods, themes and characters, as well as the combination of all, but there are only few studies choosing its narrative perspectives as their study topic. This paper analyzed the narrative perspective in this story, focusing on the use of nonfocalization, internal focalization and covert progression and the effects they have. It is found that the change of ways of focalization combining with covert progression in this story forms a parallel of objective description and ironic description with the plot development, adds a new group to the relationship between the former implied author and target readers, and reveals two different ways (idealistic and realistic) of understanding this story, letting readers reflect on the behaviors of the upper-middle-class people and ironically pointing out their selfish nature.

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