The Dinner Party Summary

“The Dinner Party” by Mona Gardner is about a party in India, in which a colonel and a girl argue about how women act in a crisis. An American naturalist who is at the party is watching the argument and sees the hostess, who is acting strangely, gesture for a bowl of milk to be put outside the door.

The Dinner Party Summary

The Dinner Party images

Mona Gardner is an American author. She had her story The Dinner Party published in The Saturday Review of Literature in 1941. Her story is a gripping narration with a stuning end. The story takes places in India during the British colonial time. In the story a colonel and a girl argue about how women act in a crisis.

In India, a colonial officer and his wife host a dinner party and invite army officers and government officials along with their wives and an American naturalist. A spirited discussion sparks up between a young girl and the colonel in which the girl believes that women have out grown the fright-from-seeing-a mouse era.

But the colonel denies that and says that men have more control than women in every situation. However, the hostess of the party proves him wrong there is a cobra in the room and the hostess stops it. The hostess decides to solve the problem and advises a plan to get rid of it. She gestures for a bowl of milk to the put outside the door.

An American naturalist at the party is watching the argument and observes the hostess. He understands that there is a cobra in the room, so to calm down everyone he plays a game of control where they cannot move or they would lose money. He told them that he would count three hundred that was five minutes and not one of them is to move a muscle.

Those who move will forfeit fifty rupees. When restarts counting down the last twenty seconds to finish the game. The cobra emerges from under the table and goes towards the bowl of milk outside. He locks it out of the room. The colonel appreciates the American who has just shown them an example of perfect control.

The American asks the hostess, Mrs. Wynnes, how she knew that the cobra was in the room and she replies; “Because it was crawling across her foot.” The colonel is proved wrong by Mrs. Wynnes’s action. The American naturalist was used to show gender does not support your self control.

The writer uses Mrs. Wynnes to prover her them that gender doesn’t support your self control. Throughout the story, Mrs. Wynnes displays perfect self control, proving that women can act bravely in a crisis. Ever though a snake crawled over her foot, she still kept calm. Thus, it justifies that gender does not support.


The theme of the short story The Dinner is that both men and women are equally courageous and can have control of a situation. This is shown throughout the dinner party when the colonel and the girl discuss the topic of female control.