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The Dolls House By Katherine Mansfield English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1309 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Apart from the old story of rich and poor you can find another interesting theme of rebel child in the story. In the story school is used as a small society representing the bigger one in real life where different kinds of people interact and live together with all their differences. However, there are always people who do not fit in their own society, “Kezia”, because they do not think the same way as the people who are living there. Also, there are group of people who are suppressed by the majority for many reasons and maybe the major one can be social status “But the line had to be drawn somewhere. It was drawn at the Kelveys.” (Mansfield: 2).

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The story attempts to tell us how different people react toward life, symbolized by the house itself. People look differently at life according to their expectations and intentions, major group of them are just trying to gain power and money in order other people around and show off, “Isabel”. There is another group of people whom try to pave their way in life using the first group by keeping themselves close to them and flatter them as much as possible, “Lena Logan”. The minor group can be those ones who believe in goodness of everything in and that gives them hope to continue living against all bad things that are out there in cruel world “Else”. And, the writer tried to use show these things through children’s eyes, maybe because children world is simpler than grownups world. Also, we can see that always older generation has effect on the younger generation and their way of thinking toward different subjects.

“Characters are entities that act and react more or less like human beings” (Abbott 2008: 19).There are varieties of characters in the story; however the main focus is on Brunell and the Kelvey girls. “But what Kezia liked more than anything, what she liked frightfully, was the lamp” (Mansfield : 2). A little girl called Kezia, who saw things differently from the others, wanted to do what she thought was right, even though she was forbidden to do it. Even though she is a little child, there is a complexity in her attitude and way of thinking that makes us say she is a round character, unlike her oldest sister, Isabel. Kezia does not think like her parents or older sister about Kelveys maybe because she is still living in her own naïve world or, one can say, she is a free soul. Kezia has much in common with Else Kelvey; both of them are the youngest child of their families. “The lamp’s best of all” (Mansfield: 3), they found the little lamp in the doll’s house more fascinating than the other parts of it “I seen the little lamp” (Mansfield: 6).

The Brunell family represents the upper-middle class and The Kelvey family represents the lower class. Nobody wants to talk to The Kelveys because they are poor and they are aware of that themselves: “they knew better than to come anywhere near the Brunells” (Mansfield: 2). The mother of the Kelvey girls is a washerwoman and it was said that the father is in prison but nobody knew that for sure. The text informs us that the Kelvey girls did not have a proper, good parental supervision and care which a child should have “But where was Mr. Kelvey?” (Mansfield: 2).

One the one hand, one can find typical selfish and arrogant upper class behavior in Isabel’s character – the oldest girl of the Brunell family – “I’m to choose who’s to come and see it first” (Mansfield 1992: 2). “They walked past the Kelveys with their heads in the air” (Mansfield: 2) one can clearly sense the superiority feeling among Brunells and also other children who are having a better social position than Kelveys. It was a very common thing between upper class members not to contact people who were not in same social level as themselves “[t]he school Brunell children went was not at all the kind of place their parents would have chosen id there had been any choice” (Mansfield: 2) . Aunt Beryl is a common type of bitter and miserable women who gets happy at the expense of making other people miserable and suppressing them “But now that she had frightened those little rats of Kelveys and given Kezia a good scolding, her heart felt lighter” (Mansfield: 6). However, the reason behind her behavior can be rooted in a terrifying letter from Willie Brent. What was written in the letter? Is she keeping a dark secret?

On the other hand the reserved and outcast Lil and Else Kelvey characters “Only the little Kelveys moved away forgotten” (Mansfield: 3). Kelveys knew that they cannot play or talk with other children because of their social status .Although Kelveys and Brunells have so many differences but Else and Kezia have something very precious and beautiful in common and that is the little lamp. The little is the symbol of last shred of humanity and hope for all humans that of course not everybody pays attention to it. “The lamp was perfect … the lamp was real” (Mansfield: 1) the ones who find the true meaning of life will experience a joy which is rare “she smiles her rare smile” little Else could see what Kezia also saw and the little lamp brings the Else and Kezia close to each other regardless of dissimilarities that surrounds them.

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“Narrative is the representation of an event or a series of events” (Abbott 2008: 13). By nature The Doll’s House story is narrative and the writer mainly uses past tense through the story. Most of the things are explained in details like a report which gives readers opportunity to make a good and vivid image of events and characters in their minds. “Imagery is rather vague critical term covering those uses of language in a literary work that evoke sense-impressions by literal or figurative reference to perceptible or ‘concrete’ objects, scenes, actions, or states, as distinct from the language of abstract argument or exposition” (The Oxford Dictionary Of Literary Terms) The past tense usage also gives reader the sense that someone is telling a story. “She was a tiny wishbone of a child, with cropped hair and enormous solemn eyes” (Mansfield: 2).In addition, adjectives and colors were widely used during the text to show emotions of characters and objects in the text “There stood the doll’s house, a dark, oily, spinach green, picked out with bright yellow” (Mansfield: 1).

Another thing which stands out in text is the repetition of “Our Else” during the story. The text implies that the narrator is being very sympathetic about Else’s situation and relate to this character more than the other ones. Also it gives us the idea that narrator has experienced the same thing just like little Else in real world and to some extent sees himself in herself in Else.

Abbot defines closure as “when a narrative resolves a conflict, it achieves closure, and this usually comes at the end of the narrative.” (Abbott 2008: 56). Last but not least, the story ending is as touching as the whole story. The closure happens at the level of expectation because the narrator is telling us to find the closure in our own silence. Else and Lil are quite most of the timeand they do not make conversation with other ones, however, they have lots to say when it comes to their facial expressions and gestures. The story ends by silence because it is in silence where one can sit and find the truth and save a happiness even if it only last just for a second. “There are times when silence has the loudest voice” (Leroy Brownlow).


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