In "The Doll's House," what does the author disapprove of?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is clear that this story is written in response to social and class divisions that leave some people shunned and excluded from the rest of their community. This is clearly shown in this story through the presentation of the Kelvey sisters. Let us note how the author describes them and the way that they are treated by the other girls in the story:

But the line had to be drawn somewhere. It was drawn at the Kelveys. Many of the children, including the Burnells, were not allowed even to speak to them. They walked past the Kelveys with their heads in the air, and as they set the fashion in all matters of behaviour, the Kelveys were shunned by everybody. Even the teacher had a special voice for them, and a special smile for the other children when Lil Kelvey came up to her desk with a bunch of dreadfully common-looking flowers.

This short story therefore presents us with the sharply demarcated lines of society and the way in which they result in some characters experiencing isolation, hardship and exclusion as a result. The doll's house, with its little lamp, and in particular the way that Keziah is so drawn to it, indicates that the lamp is a symbol of the warmth of human kindness, which makes us think of what the world would look like if there was not a "line" that had to be "drawn somewhere."


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