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Considering the situation of the Kelvey sister, is there any hope for Lil's future in...

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zlatan18 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 19, 2012 at 1:10 AM via web

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Considering the situation of the Kelvey sister, is there any hope for Lil's future in "The Doll's House"?

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 22, 2013 at 11:06 PM (Answer #1)

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In "The Doll's House", the character of Lil is described through the point of view of a third person narrator omniscient that explains with somewhat of a "personal" touch how different Lil looks in contrast with the delicate, wealthy little girls at the school. Remember that the school was the only school in the vicinity, for which the rich and the poor had to co-exist tolerably.

This being said, consider the visual imagery of a sweet, delicate little girl of good birth and with sophisticated tastes compared to the narrator's description of Lil as

a stout, plain child, with big freckles...in a dress made from a green art-serge table-cloth of the Burnells', with red plush sleeves from the Logans' curtains.

Lil also led a semi maternal role with her little sister, who dragged behind her in total fear of the others. Moreover, Lil was already the butt of jokes among her peers. However when she is insulted, aside from the shameful smile she tries to answer with, Lil seems to have developed a hard shell that prevents her from getting hurt anymore.

Is it true you're going to be a servant when you grow up, Lil Kelvey?" shrilled Lena. Dead silence. But instead of answering, Lil only gave her silly, shame-faced smile. She didn't seem to mind the question at all.

The only way that Lil's life would hold any hope for improvement is if a role model, particularly and adult, takes her under her wing, shows her self-worth and guides her path. From what we know, her mother is hardly ever there, her father is a drifter, and even her teacher treats her differently, not caring much about her. At this point, the situation indicates that Lil will likely remain at the bottom of the social change, depending on others, serving others, and perhaps even being continuously snubbed by others. This is because, in reality, Lil has never known any difference.

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