Analysis of The Doll’s House by Katherine Mansfield

Analysis of The Doll’s House by Katherine Mansfield

Analysis of The Doll’s House by Katherine Mansfield

The Doll’s House is a short story written by Katherine Mansfield. The story starts from the Burnells children receiving an exquisite doll’s house and then they flaunted it to the schoolmates. The story is about injustices, class distinctions at that time. In this paper I will explore the themes and analyses the characters and the techniques used to create the characters.


There are two argons in The Doll’s House. One is the conflict between the Burnells and the Kelveys. It shows that the conflict among aristocratic families and underprivileged people. And the other one is between Kezia and other persons in the story. It expresses the difference between natural goodness and class biases. It can be seen the discrimination is caused by the gap of wealth through the whole story. The parents in Burnell thought their children were “forced to mix together” (Mansfield, P.2) and the text also says “the line had to be drawn somewhere. It was drawn at the Kelveys” (Mansfield, P.2) and so on. Everyone thought it is the rule in the Burnells but Kezia, the main character, invited the Kelveys to visit the doll’s house, despite the warning of her mother. Although she received a scolding at last, it indicates her courage to challenge the social rules and her hope to build a fair world.


In the short story, many characters are flat characters. For example, Mrs. Hay, she is the sweet and generous person who sent the children a doll’s house; Emmie Cole, Lena Logan and Jessie May are the Burnells and the Kelveys’ schoolmates; Mrs. Kelvey is a washerwoman and Mr. Kelvey is a prisoner. Their daughters are named Lil and Else. Although there are many words to describe Lil and Else, they still just


represent a type of people living in the bottom of society.

H. Porter Abbott says in his book “The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative” (2008) :“Round characters have varying degrees of depth and complexity and therefore, in Forster’s words, they ‘cannot be summed up in a single phrase’ (69)” (Abbott 2008: 133) So, Kezia is a round character. From the beginning, the Burnell children received the present. Isabel and Lottie were fascinated by the pictures with gold frames complete, red carpet, red plush chairs or tables and beds with real bed clothes etc. “But what Kezia liked more than anything, what she liked frightfully, was the lamp”(Mansfield, P.1) and then “But the lamp was perfect. It seemed to smile to Kezia, to say, ‘I live here.’ The lamp was real. ”(Mansfield, P.1) According to those examples, the text shows that other Burnell children are fond of gaudy things of the doll’s house while Kezia likes unadorned lamp because of its simplicity. The appreciation of the lamp symbolizes her quality. So she thinks to be a friend of the Kelveys isn’t a wrong thing.

Furthermore, quality is also in her actions. She asks her mother:“Can I ask the K

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