Free Essays on Mansfield's The Doll's House

Free Essays on Mansfield's The Doll's House

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The Doll's House 
 

A contributing factor to the story "The Doll's House" by Katherine

Mansfield is the characterization of Kezia as she travels in her

innocence through the symbolic world of experience.  Kezia is

essential to the plot because she represents a taboo, offering

opposition to common ways of thinking. Through the portrayal of

Kezia, as she interacts as the symbolic eccentric, Mansfield

emphasizes the powers and blind justification of conformity within

a society.


The story commences with the arrival of the doll's house sent to

the Burnell children.  The Burnells take a great liking to this

new acquisition.  As the two older children admire the red carpet,

red plush chairs, and gold frames of this highly ornamented house,

Kezia, the youngest of the girls, takes an interest in the rather

simple lamp. In fact, "what she liked more than anything, what she

liked frightfully, was the lamp." This infatuation symbolizes her

impeccability in comparison to the others as she is drawn to the

unadorned lamp. Kezia proceeds to find fault with the state and

proportions of the doll's house and perfection with the lamp in

its simplicity.  As others take interests in the gaudy nature of

the house, Kezia rebels:  "But the lamp was perfect.  It seemed to

smile at Kezia, to say `I live here.' The lamp was so real."

Conflict intensifies as Kezia remains the odd ball.  The

appreciation of the lamp is a metaphor for the actions to come.

Kezia likes the lamp because she does not know any better.  Thus,

she decides to befriend the Kelveys because she doesn't see

anything wrong in doing so.  The Kelveys are a family that are

shunned because of their economic status.  Throughout the town,

"Many of the children, including the Burnnels, were not allowed

even to speak to them."  Without a second thought, school children

and their families followed in the consuming tradition of looking

down upon these unprivileged people.  Kezia offers offset to this

common path of thinking and questions such a blind following.  She

asks her mother, "Can't I ask the Kelveys just once?" To which,

the response is, "Run away, Kezia; you know quite well why not."

Mansfield successfully expresses the enveloping and controlling

nature of conformity through the juxtaposition of Kezia's

innocence to the prejudiced views of  those who live in the world

of experience.  While others remain to push Kezia's nonconformist

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qualities down, she pursues contact with the Kelvey girls.  She

states in her actions that she is strong enough to engage in war

against conformity when she invites the Kelveys to see the doll's

house despite her mother's unjustified demands. When the Kelveys

have their visit, they hardly get to take in the full effect of

the doll's house before they are shooed "out as if they were

chickens."  However,  they overlook the embellished details of the

house and have, like Kezia, a tendency to be drawn to the

simplistic lamp. Thus, Kezia and the Kelveys are drawn together in

the purity of heart of the light to battle and ignore things based

upon blind faith.
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