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What does the lamp and the doll's house symbolize in the short story 'the doll's house'...

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nineymo | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 21, 2010 at 5:51 PM via web

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What does the lamp and the doll's house symbolize in the short story 'the doll's house' by katherine mansfield?

i need to link this to the theme 'class distinction in the 1900s' and the characteristics with kieza. But i can't figure the significance of symbolism in the story.

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted June 21, 2010 at 10:31 PM (Answer #1)

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The doll house is symbolic of the upper class people in this society. The Burnell children would have attended a ritzy private school had there been one nearby, but as it is, their school is the only one for miles, so they are forced to attend a school that has a mixed group of children - both high class and low class. The Kelveys are the low class children. Note that the doll house is "perfect". All the walls are papered, there is carpet, but the dolls in the house, the people, are "stiff" -- they don't seem to belong there, and then there is that smell:

But perfect, perfect little house! Who could possibly mind the smell?

The doll house may be perfect, but what it represents "stinks". The smell is the only negative thing about the house. The smell represents the cruelty of society.

The best thing about the house is the little lamp.

But what Kezia liked more than anything, what she liked frightfully, was the lamp. It stood in the middle of the dining-room table, an exquisite little amber lamp with a white globe.

The lamp always reminds me of the the song, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine..." because it represents the one, tiny shred of human kindness, the kindness that is only shown by Kezia in the story when she invites the Kelveys to see the house. While her snobby family is singing, "Hide it under a bushel" Kezia answers: "NO! I'm gonna let it shine."

Read about the story here on eNotes.

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nineymo | Student , Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 16, 2010 at 6:54 PM (Answer #2)

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Thank you for the answer it was a big help

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jessicapenuliar | Student , Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 15, 2011 at 11:32 AM (Answer #3)

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yaali102 | Student , Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted March 28, 2012 at 9:38 PM (Answer #4)

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I am not satisfied


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wafae1996 | Student , Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 10, 2012 at 10:08 PM (Answer #5)

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Thanks for the answer it helped me a lot for my essay ^^

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