The Garden Party

Her first ball


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Distorted reality, a key theme in the overall text, is prevalent in Her First Ball as Leila’s perspective illustrates the unconfident years of adolescence. Leila’s nervous and awkward nature hide an imaginative spirit. She fantasized about her first ball, building up the experience in her mind to such a grandiose degree that when the reality arrives she is at first transfixed, she then begins to question her experience before finally succumbing to self doubt once the “fat man” reveals the hurtful truth behind the ball’s illusion. Leila is startled by the idea that she will one day grow older and be unable to dance or worse yet, to be unwelcome to do so. The “fat man,” who himself seems to live in his own distorted reality, has continued to dance at the balls long after it was appropriate but he refuses to stop. His suggestion that Leila will not be allowed to dance once she gets older and rounder is sexist and hypocritical. His remarks briefly shatter Lelia’s illusions. Were her partners really that wonderful? Was the floor really so “beautifully slippery?” Poor Leila. Then the music lifts her spirits, another dance partner appears, and she is transfixed once more by her distorted if not lovely illusion.