Happiness begins with life and continues with death. In this short story by Mansfield, the character Laura walks through the journey of life. As she has the task of creating a wonderful party, she encounters an ???accident??? (256); and she cannot grasp the understanding of why others do not seem to be as astonished as she. The level of sorrow and empathy are viewed at multi-level spectrums and honor life on earth.
As flowers come in and out of the garden, and the marquee is being set, Laura is informed about a death of a close neighbor. With this knowledge, she becomes frazzled and questions her sister about how to discontinue the party. There was no thinking for her, ???they were the greatest possible eyesore, and they had no right to be in that neighborhood at all??? (255); it would be un-thought of to do such a thing. Her mother didn??™t even give but a word of sorrow to the poor man, Laura did not quite seem to understand why ???her mother behaved just like Jose??? (257). What is even ???harder to bear [is that] she seemed amused??? (257). Laura felt just about shameful for not wanting the party to continue. ???Is mother right??? (258). Laura could only imagine what the unfortunate family felt; the children without a father. It is a horrid thought to bear. But -somehow- her family??™s words get to her and she decides to ???remember it again after the party??™s over??? (258).
After the party, Laura is quickly on her way. Walking down the street frightened, while on her way to deliver the basket full of ???scraps from their party??? (261), Laura struggles to think of the dead man??™s house she will soon reach. Thinking of this man becomes clouded over with thoughts of the successful party. ???She had no room for anything else [inside her]??? (261). The thought could be many possibilities in her perplexed mind at this time. She soon encounters the man??™s house and is timid about the shadows that linger on the porch. Once she approaches the door, the woman insists that she come in. Nervous and unsure, Laura steps inside their house as she makes little whispers to God. She does not know what to expect as she enters these stranger??™s home. Laura feels herself being eyed; like an animal on showcase. That is how the little old woman at the fire seems to feel. What the necessary word to speak is as Laura stared at her puffed, swollen face, she did not know-but she spoke of nothing. Laura is not there to make assumptions; this was just another person??™s way to deal with life and death. Laura feels un-welcome there, but that soon disappears when a door opens- and there lie the dead man. The woman who let her in, hurries her into the door so that Laura can see. Laura stands there, watching him ???so peaceful[ly]??? (264). She gazes at him as she thinks of the wonderful life he must have been a part of. This is a place that she is supposed to be and this man alike. He lies there so calm; fulfilling his life in death- a forever sleep. He did not care of the party, the food with her, or anything else. She thought he was ???wonderful??? (264) and that he was just as happy; and it is truly ???said [by his] sleeping face??? (264).
Therefore, Laura was very uneasy and confused about the garden party in the beginning. She does not know why her family is unconcerned, while the thought of his family dances in her head. But she now can visualize the reality; every single person will handle it separately, or differently, and it is alright to feel any way she need. Though she begins feeling bereaved about the man and his family, she knows that the man was content with passing on. That is where he is supposed to be, and his life does not end here, it only continues on. Laura physically encountered this journey, but more importantly; she faces a challenge and emotionally and mentally rises above it.