The Dollhouse Katherine Mansfield Analysis

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Inner Light Every person has the potential to be a good human being. Katherine Mansfield displays this belief in her story “The Dollhouse”, in which three children receive a dollhouse as a gift. To explain this inner goodness, Mansfield uses the introduction of the dollhouse to the Burnells along with the young girls’ innocence to explain this theme, while also introducing characters that would appear to contradict this belief, but actually reinforce it. To start off, Mansfield uses the dollhouse as the first symbol of the inner good inside a person. The first impression of the dollhouse that is given is that “the smell of paint was quite enough to make any one seriously ill.” Before the children uncover the dollhouse the smell is noticeable…show more content…
The first character who displays her inner goodness is Kezia. The first detail the story reveals said about Kezia is how she feels about the lamp inside the house. In fact, she liked the lamp so much that it “seemed to smile” at her. The lamp itself is the light inside the dollhouse, and is symbolic of the inner goodness inside Kezia. The next way that Kezia displays her goodness is how she treats the Kelveys. Instead of mocking and laughing at the Kelveys as the other children do, Kezia invites them, despite “know[ing] quite well why” she shouldn’t, over to look at the dollhouse. Upon seeing the dollhouse, Lil breathes so loudly that she “almost snorted,” and Else was “still as a stone.” Just the experience of seeing the dollhouse was breathtaking for these children. Even after being shoo’d away, one of the Kelveys say “I seen the little lamp,” referencing Kezia’s goodness that she displayed to them when she invited them to look at the dollhouse. The next two characters who show inner goodness are the Kelveys. The Kelveys come from a poor background, and do not have much to give or show off to the other children, definitely no dollhouse. Despite their poverty, these two children have shown nothing but good will to the other children, who even mock them for the Kelveys being poor. Under the situation that they were mocked, it’s stated that “instead of answering, Lil only gave her silly, shame-faced smile.” These children had the chance to say something rude back, but know that they are above and better than that, and just act kind. The inner goodness that is shown by these two children is unique compared to Kezia’s goodness as Kezia has a different upbringing and has never been put into these situations that the Kelveys
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