The Garden Party

by

Katherine Mansfield

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Garden Party can help.

Mrs. Sheridan Character Analysis

Laura’s domineering and passive-aggressive socialite mother, Mrs. Sheridan obsessively plans the garden-party with her children’s help even as she insists that all the preparations are up to them. Her authority and tendency to speak in leading questions make Laura feel unable to express the disagreements she feels with her mother. This creates conflict after Scott’s death, since Mrs. Sheridan ceases to care as soon as she realizes the accident didn’t happen in her garden. Mrs. Sheridan, like Jose, becomes angry with Laura for proposing that they cancel the party and later even teases her for suggesting it. When her husband Mr. Sheridan mentions the accident, Mrs. Sheridan considers it “tactless,” but decides to feign sympathy by sending Laura to take leftovers from the party to the Scotts.

Mrs. Sheridan Quotes in The Garden Party

The The Garden Party quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Sheridan or refer to Mrs. Sheridan. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Garden Party published in 1997.
The Garden Party Quotes

“My dear child, it's no use asking me. I'm determined to leave everything to you children this year. Forget I am your mother. Treat me as an honoured guest.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Sheridan (speaker), Laura Sheridan , Meg Sheridan
Related Symbols: Marquee
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

“This Life is Wee-ary,
A Tear—a Sigh.
A Love that Chan-ges,
This Life is Wee-ary,
A Tear—a Sigh.
A Love that Chan-ges,
And then... Good-bye!”

But at the word "Good-bye," and although the piano sounded more desperate than ever, her face broke into a brilliant, dreadfully unsympathetic smile.

"Aren't I in good voice, mummy?" she beamed.

“This Life is Wee-ary,
Hope comes to Die.
A Dream—a Wa-kening.”

Related Characters: Jose Sheridan (speaker), Laura Sheridan , Mrs. Sheridan, Meg Sheridan, Hans, Sadie
Page Number: 42-43
Explanation and Analysis:

“It's only by accident we've heard of it. If some one had died there normally—and I can't understand how they keep alive in those poky little holes—we should still be having our party, shouldn't we?”

Laura had to say “yes” to that, but she felt it was all wrong.

“Mother, isn't it terribly heartless of us?" she asked.

“Darling!” Mrs. Sheridan got up and came over to her, carrying the hat. Before Laura could stop her she had popped it on. “My child!” said her mother, “the hat is yours. It's made for you. It's much too young for me. I have never seen you look such a picture. Look at yourself!” And she held up her hand-mirror.

Related Characters: Laura Sheridan (speaker), Mrs. Sheridan (speaker), Mr. Scott
Related Symbols: Hat
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

The lane began, smoky and dark. Women in shawls and men’s tweed caps hurried by. Men hung over the palings; the children played in the doorways. A low hum came from the mean little cottages. In some of them there was a flicker of light, and a shadow, crab-like, moved across the window. Laura bent her head and hurried on. She wished now she had put on a coat. How her frock shone! And the big hat with the velvet streamer—if only it was another hat! Were the people looking at her? They must be. It was a mistake to have come; she knew all along it was a mistake. Should she go back even now?

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Laura Sheridan , Mrs. Sheridan, Mr. Scott
Related Symbols: Hat
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Garden Party LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Garden Party PDF

Mrs. Sheridan Character Timeline in The Garden Party

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Sheridan appears in The Garden Party. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Garden Party
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Beauty, Refinement and Detachment Theme Icon
Childhood, Family and Independence Theme Icon
...Sheridan family’s gardener manicures their property in preparation for their garden-party later that day. As Mrs. Sheridan eats breakfast with at least two of her daughters, Meg and Laura, four workmen come... (full context)
Beauty, Refinement and Detachment Theme Icon
Childhood, Family and Independence Theme Icon
...Maitland and, again imitating her mother’s voice, invites her over for lunch before the party. Mrs. Sheridan yells from upstairs for Kitty to “wear that sweet hat you had on last Sunday.”... (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Beauty, Refinement and Detachment Theme Icon
Childhood, Family and Independence Theme Icon
...concludes that it must have been a mistake for the florist to send so many. Mrs. Sheridan walks in and affirms that she ordered them herself after seeing them in the florist’s... (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Empathy, Understanding, and Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Beauty, Refinement and Detachment Theme Icon
Childhood, Family and Independence Theme Icon
...so she can practice, in case she has to sing at the party. Laura and Mrs. Sheridan enter the room as Jose begins to sing a tragic song called “This Life is... (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Empathy, Understanding, and Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Childhood, Family and Independence Theme Icon
Sadie interrupts to tell Mrs. Sheridan that the cook needs the “flags for the sandwiches.” Mrs. Sheridan says she will “let... (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Empathy, Understanding, and Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Beauty, Refinement and Detachment Theme Icon
Childhood, Family and Independence Theme Icon
To Laura’s astonishment, once Mrs. Sheridan realizes the death wasn’t in the garden, she has no more sympathy for the Scotts... (full context)
Work and Leisure Theme Icon
Empathy, Understanding, and Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Beauty, Refinement and Detachment Theme Icon
Childhood, Family and Independence Theme Icon
...father if the band can get drinks. Suddenly, the party is over and Laura and Mrs. Sheridan bid the guests goodbye. Mrs. Sheridan declares the party successful, but complains that she is... (full context)
Empathy, Understanding, and Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Beauty, Refinement and Detachment Theme Icon
Childhood, Family and Independence Theme Icon
Mr. Sheridan brings up Scott’s death, about which he heard from another source. Mrs. Sheridan complains that Laura wanted to stop the party. Mr. Sheridan laments the tragic accident, which... (full context)