Katherine Mansfield “The doll’s house” The world of the adults seems to be in conflict with the world of the children in Katherine Mansfields “the doll house”. The dolls house represents this conflict by pointing out the divide between the upper and lower class citizen which all the adults clearly understand and the children don’t fully understand or believe in. Throughout the story we see the clear line that has been drawn by the adults in regards to the upper and lower class. The adults have a very black and white thought process when it comes to status.
However as we see the children, especially the younger ones have not fully been indoctrinated into this mindset, looking at the world with more of a open mind and more accepting of others. The dolls house given to the Burnell children depicts inequality that is not fully understood by the children. Inside the dolls house we find beautiful, never before seen objects, “it was too much for them. they had never seen anything like it in their lives. ” (Mansfield 751). 1 At the same time the dolls house had simple basic items such as the lamp which is 2 overlooked and under appreciated by most.
All the kids want to see the dolls house, however do to inequality not all the kids are privileged enough to see the house, “the line had to be drawn somewhere. It was drawn at the Kelveys. ” Kezia doesn’t see the line clearly drawn as she asks her mother if she can show the dolls house to the Kelveys. After her mother tells her that she can not show them the house Kezia asks, “But why not? ” This reinforces the idea that Kezia’s mind has not been fully shaped and influenced by the adults adding to the conflicting view points of the adults and children worlds.
Katherine Mansfield uses the fine details in the dolls house to show the reader how the adults have such strong beliefs and set on social inequality that they no longer can appreciate greatness no matter where it comes from. “But the smell of paint was quite enough to make anyone seriously ill in Aunt Beryl’s opinion. Even before the sacking was taken off. ” The adults don’t see whats so special about the doll house, to them its Just another toy that has nothing special about it. “and there is stayed, propped up on two wooden boxes beside the feed room door.
The adults see the world the same way, they appreciate materialism and status. They have lost their child hood innocence do to the hard line ideology that they where fed growing up. However the kids still have their innocence, imagination and open mind so the dolls house resonates with them at a completely different level, to the children the house is unimaginable and shows the endless possibilities that exist in the world. “But perfect, perfect little house! Who could possibly mind the smell. It was part of the Joy, part of the newness.
This 3 The idea of hope is found in the dolls house the same way hope exists with the children. The lamp in the dolls house represents the lower end of the social class. In the house it provides much needed light, without its light the house would not function, yet is under appreciated and not even given a second look. Yet Kezia a child with status whom should not appreciate such simplicity finds the lamp to be the most exquisite and interesting item in the dolls house. She can see greatness in all things regardless of status.
This is the constant battle that the adults must confront trying to indoctrinate the children into their way of thinking. As ” many of the children, including the Burnells, were not allowed even to speak to them”. This was enforced on the Burnells constantly. However the younger children still see equality and are unaware fully as to why they must not associate with people less fortunate then them. Young Kezia depicts this throughout the story by recognizing the uniqueness of the lamp. “Kezia liked more than anything, what she liked frightfully, was the lamp.
While the older children don’t recognize the lamp as special due to its simplicity Kezia does. This gives hope that the younger children may not fully fall into believing in the inequality between classes. As we can see in Katherine Mansfields “The dolls house” the world of the adults is in conflict with the world of the children. The dolls house represents this by pointing out the social class divide that exists in the adult world, yet is not fully understood in the child’s world. We see that the children are not fully indoctrinated in the division f 4 classes.
The adults are fully indoctrinated in inequality and see the world as black and white where the children still see the world as a place of hope and possibilities. Because of the adults black and white thought processes they have a hard time relating to the open and hopeful minds of the children. The children see the world in a different light then the adults adding to the constant conflict that exists between their so similar worlds. Works Cited Mansfield, Katherine, The dolls house, Seven short stories. Black cat 2013 E-Book