Free Essay on The Doll's House by Katherine Mansfield
The Doll’s House, a short story written by Katherine Mansfield on the 4th of February 1922, was originally published in The Nation and Atheneum. Katherine was born and grew up from a socially-well family in Wellington, New Zealand.
The story revolved around a doll house given by a certain Mrs. Hay to the Burnell kids (Isabel, Lottie and Kezia) and how such gift brought astonishment and grief to anyone who happen to witness such splendor.
The doll house was huge that the carter decided to just place it in the courtyard where it stayed for the summer. It was a gift ever girl would want and hope for. It has all the making of a perfect doll house – colorful paints on the roofs, walls and chimneys; movable windows and doors; good architectural design. Added features included furniture designed to fit the house.
The Burnells are all so delighted upon seeing their gift. They took a closer look at it and were amazed how intricate it was done. But the two elder sisters Isabel and Lottie failed to notice the best feature of the house which Kezia, the youngest, saw. It was a lamp placed on top of the dining room table. It is the only part of the doll house which seem to have been made to fit perfectly.
At school, Isabel was so excited to tell their classmates about the new doll house that was given to them. Isabel said that while she is the eldest, she gets to pick whom to show the house to. So one by one, all their friends took turns in seeing the house after school each day until almost all saw the house except for sisters Lil and Else Kelvey.
The Kelveys were considered to be outcast because of their social standing. Their father was believed to be in jail and their mother, a washerwoman. So the sisters have to maximize their mother’s meager earning.
One day, as the Kelveys walk home, Kezia offered to show the house. They were hesitant at first but finally gave in. Creeping the courtyard, Kezia led the sisters to the doll house. The two were so overwhelmed upon seeing the house. It was at the site at that site of the youngest Burnell showing all the detailed design of the house when Aunt Beryl saw all three of them. Like flies, she shooed them away of the courtyard. Kezia got all the scoldings and was told never to speak nor invite the Kelvys over to their house.
The two sisters somehow managed to run away from the courtyard and out of the gate. It was a shameful experience but a nice one too having seen the doll house. The lamp never escaped their eyes too. It was one of those features that caught their attention.
Though there are many perceptions you can create while reading the story, there are only two strong points I was able to build. While the story was written decades ago, the social discrimination at that time remains. People still tend to look up on those being born to a wealthy family. They bow to them like Gods. Money still talks. It is but sad to feel that centuries-old mentality has not been overcome by humans.
It is also striking to notice that amidst the discriminations, the heart of a child remains free of all the biased judgment. In the story, all of the characters notice the doll house in its entirety. Little did they pay attention to the lamp which gave the house a sense of harmony. Only Kezia, the youngest of the Burnell kids, and the Kelveys who saw the lamp’s beauty atop that dining room table. It goes to show that it is only in the innocent’s heart and mind do we see real beauty in its deepest sense.
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