There are some minor differences between Katherine Mansfield’s “The Garden Party” and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” but the similarities between the two stories are evident and thus, they can be compared. One similarity is the presence of patriarchy. Another is the responsibilities of the “home” and/or “home life” being the sole responsibilities of the woman in the stories. One of the similarities between the “Garden Party” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” is the existence of patriarchy in the stories.
One way in which this can be identified in the “Garden Party” is through he following quote, “I suppose you didn’t hear of the beastly accident that happened today” – Mr. Sheridan (Mansfield 9). Mrs. Sheridan replies, “My dear, holding up her hand, we did. It nearly ruined the party. Laura insisted we should put it off” (Mansfield 9). Prior to this conversation Mrs. Sheridan was giving off quite a different mood on the topic, a sense of indifference, an emotion which would illustrate that she couldn’t care less.
This can be concluded by the scene in which Laura comes two her mother in a hurry to tell her to stop the “garden party,” saying, “Mother, a man’s been killed. Her mother replies, “Not in the garden? ” “No, no” says Laura. “Oh, what a fright you gave me! ” says, Mrs. Sheridan,” and later in the passage where it continues, “But, my dear child, use your common sense. If someone had died there normally… -we should still be having our party, shouldn’t we? ” Patriarchy is also shown in the scene in which Laura is sent to the grieving family with a basket of food. This is because it is only after the discussion being brought up by Mr.
Sheridan that Laura is sent off with this basket of left- over food, but food nonetheless, to, in a way show the family’s espect and/or acknowledgement of the passing. A third instance is where the florist arrives with canna lilies for the “garden party,” and an abundance of them. With this scenario one can point to patriarchy as, in response to the Laura’s statement of, “Nobody ever ordered so many,” her mother replies, it’s quite alright. ” I was passing the shop yesterday, and I saw them in the window. And I suddenly thought for once in my life I shall have enough canna lilies. The garden party will be a good excuse” (Mansfield 4).
This, demonstrating how Mrs. Sheridan would normally not be allowed to make such a ecision or do such a thing as it is Mr. Sheridan’s decision but with today being the day of the garden party, the garden party is her responsibility as well as it provides a good excuse to order the flowers she has always wanted. Similar to “The Garden Party,” it is the notion of patriarchy, in the sense that it is due to John’s “say-so” that his wife is brought to this secluded house for the purposes of a “rest cure. ”
This is shown in the quote where, in response to his wife’s request to leave the home, John states,”you really are better, dear.. “You are gaining flesh and olor, your appetite is better, I feel really much easier about you” (Mansfield 303). It can also been seen in John keeping her away from journal/writing and reading. The narrator says, “There comes John, sand I must put this away-he hates to have me write a word” (Perkins Gilman 298). This is made even more vivid when the reader continues with the passage and it says, “We have been here two weeks, and I haven’t felt like writing before, since that first day” (Perkins Gilman 298). Writing is a passion of the narrator’s but John does not feel it will be good for her condition and so she is kept away from writing.
A third example of this is shown in a discussion that was mentioned briefly in a previous point, as support and that is, where the narrator asks if they could leave the home, but John refuses. What specifically is said is, the narrator states how she is not making any progress with regards to her condition, staying in this house and that her wish is for them to leave. John replies, “Why, darling!. ” “Our lease will be up in three weeks, and I can’t see how to leave before. The repairs are not done at home, and I cannot possibly leave town just now.
Of course, if you were in any danger, I could and would, but you really are atter, dear, whether you see it or not. I am a doctor, dear, and know (Perkins Gilman 303). In addition, the narrator, also likely due to the effect of patriarchy, having to follow “the mans” rule, always comments about needing John’s help. In the middle of the story and/or at some point towards the end, at a crucial time, with the narrator nearly escaping the grips of the house and all that comes with it, the narrator still states something along the lines of, “But, I still require John’s help. The second point of comparison between the “Garden Party” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” comes in relation to the role of the woman in the stories,’ specifically how their sole duties and responsibilities pertain to “home life. ”
In “The Garden Party” it is the job of the woman to set-up and do all that is needed to get the “garden party” running. A quote to exemplify this, “Well, what about the lily-lawn? Would that do? .. “I don’t fancy it, said he.. ” “A corner of the tennis-court, she suggested… “But the bands going to be in one corner.. ” (Mansfield 2). The above, portions of a conversation between Laura and one of the individuals who as come over to install the marquee for the “garden party,” in looking to see where it should be placed, thus, showing Laura, specifically working on one of her assigned tasks in preparation of the party. The concept that the roles of the woman in the “Garden Party” are only limited to tasks of the home can also be established by in contrast, identifying the roles of the men in the story.
With that being said, one instance to shed some light on this can be the moment at which Laurie is leaving home for work, clarified by the quote, “Suddenly she couldn’t stop herself. She ran to Laurie and gave him a small, quick squeeze. ” Oh, I do love parties, don’t you? ” gasped Laura (Mansfield 3). To further this scene’s support for the above point, in this scene Laura has just been called away from her task of setting up the marquee home to answer the telephone. Yet, before she does this Laura spots her father and brother Laurie heading off to work and decides to go give Laurie a hug.
This and other nearly identical and/or similar instances are the only times in which Laurie is mentioned, wanting to point out the fact that he is not brought up at any time during the set-up or clean-up of the party, to mphasis that this is because something like such is seen to be the responsibly of the ladies. Another and possibly more important point of emphasis should be place on the fact that Laurie and his father are leaving while this whole set-up for the party is taking place. In looking at a second quote to back up this point, one can refer back to the dialogue which takes place around the time Laurie is taking-off for work.
However, this time to look at: “I say, Laura,” said Laurie very fast, “you might just give a squiz at my coat before this afternoon. See if it wants pressing. ” (Mansfield 3). Here Laura is shown being assigned a “lady-like or house-hold” task by her brother. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” one can identify the narrator depicting the role of woman at home in a much similar manner, as the narrator is stuck at home while her husband John attends work as a physician. In support of this point about the narrator, “So… and talk about the house. ” “It is quite alone, standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village.
It makes me think of English places that you read about, for these hedges and walls and gates that lock, and lots of separate little houses for the ardeners and people. ” (Perkins Gilman 297). As has been mentioned previously, the narrator has a passion for writing, yet this is her surrounding and/or view each day. Actually, this can be a description of the home she spends her days in, a description recalled from when she first arrived here and/or her occasional glances out the window of her room, as her room is specifically where spends her days, literally locked up in her room.
The other support in this short story of the woman’s role being at home comes from Jennie, the sister-in-law and or caretaker/monitor of the narrator. She is another great support for this point as she can be described as the “perfect woman,” She stays at home to aid her brother in taking care of his wife and their child and so, as such, also takes on the cooking and cleaning of the home.
This is summed up greatly by the statement from the narrator in which she describes Jennie as, “a perfect and enthusiastic housekeeper, and hopes for no better profession” (Perkins Gilman 300). The last backing of this point of woman’s role and responsibilities being to the home goes back, in relation to the narrator, specifically with regards to her allucinations of a woman outside, who then in character to a hallucination, disappears. In support of this statement, the following quote: “I think the woman gets out in the daytime! “And l’ll tell you why-privately–I’ve seen her! ” I can see her out of every one of my windows” “It is the same woman, I know, for she is always keeping, and most women do not creep by daylight” (Perkins Gilman 306). In summary, the two stories, Katherine Mansfield’s “The Garden Party” and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ” The Yellow Wallpaper” have aspects of great comparison. One aspect eing how “family life” in the stories’ are governed by patriarchy.
Illustrated in “The Garden Party” by scenarios like the one in which Laura is handed a basket of food for their mourning neighbors’, and in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the prescription of “rest cure” for the narrator by her husband. In support of the other point, the sole duties and/or responsibilities of the woman in the stories concerning “home life,” comes the mention of Jennie with regards to “The Yellow Wallpaper” and set-up of the “garden party” being done by the woman of the household.