The Garden Party Will Go on or Not? Who Persuades Whom? : A Modality Analysis of Mansfield’s “The Garden Party (Published)
This paper seeks to analyze the modality in the interactive exchanges of language as the vehicle of persuasion amongst three characters –Laura, Jose and their mother Mrs. Sheridan- over the question ‘whether or not the garden party goes on’ in the legendary short story ‘The Garden Party’ by Katherine Mansfield. Laura’s strong impulse, on an ethical ground, to put off the party following an impecunious neighbor’s coincidental demise is asserted largely through ‘modality of desirability’. Nonetheless, in the realm of reality, their high ranking whereabouts in societal structure, trepidation of losing face to the already invited visitors, Mrs. Sheridan’s and Jose’s views on Laura’s proposition are outright negative and their reinforcement on the ongoing of the party is essentially demonstrated through their predominant choices of ‘modality of validity’ dedicated in their utterances. Ergo, the garden party does not correlate with the impoverished fellow’s death and it goes on. Fowler‘s (1985) proposed modality categories have been followed in examining how modality makes sense of ‘persuasion’ in terms of the characters’ conversations in the cited text. The outstanding excerpt from the aforesaid text that involves the argument over the settlement of either continuation or discontinuation of the party has been exploited as the data for this modality analysis and a purposive sampling of the data has been adopted.