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The Doll's House

Page history last edited by Brian 16 years, 11 months ago
 The dolls house, written by Kathryn Mansfield is a short story about the social class injustice in new
                                          Zealand in the early 20th century. 
Table of Contents
Biography of Kathryn Mansfield
            Birthplace and early childhood
            European Education
            Marital Problems
Writing the Dolls house
            Where When and why
                                                                                                                                        Barbie Three-Story Dream Doll House 
Plot Summary
            use of literary terms


born in Wellington new Zealand on October 14 1888 to a middle class banker. Her childhood was lonely to some extent. She was educated Europe and in 1908 returned to New Zealand. Here she learned of her brother being killed in basic training during WWI. She began writing short stories, but found no immediate success. Furthermore she experienced marital problems including an illegitimate child and a miscarriage. Her stories only began to have success when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and died on January 9, 1923.

Writing the Doll’s House
The Doll’s House was written by Katherine Mansfield in the fading years of her life. It was written to address the social injustices she witnessed growing up in New Zealand, a society with a very strict and rigid social class system.
Plot Summary
The Doll’s House is set in New Zealand in the early 1900’s, a time of great social injustice.
Flag - New Zealand
The character’s in Katherine Mansfield’s The Doll House are the Burnell sisters, Isabel Keiza and Lottie, all of whom are of a wealthy family, and the Kelveys, Lil and Else who were of a low income family, with a father that was non existent. Other minor characters include Mrs. Hay who gave the Burnell sisters the Doll House and Aunt Beryl.
There are many conflicts within the Doll’s House. The first of which is the most obvious that exists between the Burnell sisters, specifically Keiza and whether or not she should invite the Kelveys to look at the doll house. Another conflict that exists is the conflict between The Kelveys and their classmates, in how they are always being picked on and the constant struggle of the Kelveys to somehow let it go. Both of these conflicts would be man vs. man but there does exist a conflict in the form of man vs nature. This is made evident when the reader sees how the Kelveys are so close and help one another through difficult times despite what early 20th century New Zealand social class may tell them about their insufficiency.
Use of literary Terms:
1. simile- “…and the door, gleaming with yellow varnish, was like a little slab of toffee.”
     P. 705
2. repetition of “our Else” whenever Else Kelvey’s name is mentioned throughout the
  1. Tone- the tone of this story is very child like and naïve, however it covers very complex issues that our society even today.
  2. Authors Purpose- the purpose is to shed light on the cruelty of social hierarchies. It also shows how a parents influence can shape the way a child thinks, in this case in a negative way.
  3. Imagery- p 704 1st paragraph “There stood the Doll’s house, a dark oily, spinach green, picked out with bright yellow. Its two solid little chimneys, glued on to the roof, were painted red and white, and the oor, gleaming with yellow varnish, was like a little slab of coffee. There was actually a tiny porch, too, painted yellow, with big lamps of congealed paint hanging along the edge.” Mental picture
  4. characterization- Kezia- she is a little girl who hasn’t completely been inhibited with the norms of her society yet. She sees the Kelvey girls as someone else to play with instead of outcasts or people that shouldn’t be talked to. She is naïve to her surroundings even though her Aunt constantly reminds her of them. She somehow knows that what is going on with the ostracizing of the Kelvey girls is wrong. She just wants to show off her new Doll house to anyone who will look.
Memorable Quotes
“But perfect, perfect little house!”
            -Narrator on the Doll House
“…the little kelveys. They knew better than to come anywhere near the Burnells.”
            -narrator on the Kelveys relationship with the Burnells.
“But where was Mr. Kelvey?”
            -narrator on the parenting situation of the Kelveys.
“I seen the little lamp.”
            -Else kelvey on having seen the Doll House.
 "Mansfield: Her Writing." Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Te Puakitanga. Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society Inc . 29 May 2007 http://www.katherinemansfield.com/mansfield/her_write.asp.


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