The dollhouse is a symbol of privilege among the upper class. The Burnell sisters receive the dollhouse as a gift and are permitted by their parents to show it off at school. This only heightens their popularity, since they come from a rich background. However, as the schoolgirls gather around the dollhouse, there are two poor girls that are forbidden from viewing the dollhouse. These are the Kelvey sisters, daughters of a washerwoman and a rumored criminal. Their poor background prevents them from experiencing the same level of privilege as the other girls.
This sets up the main conflict of the story. Class discrimination is presented in something as trivial as a dollhouse. Despite the warnings from her parents, Kezia Burnell allows the Kelvey sisters to view the dollhouse anyway. This act of rebellion can be seen as a condemnation of class discrimination because it goes against what is normally accepted in the upper class. When Kezia shows the Kelvey sisters the dollhouse, she is immediately berated by her aunt. Once the Kelvey sisters escape, Else mentions that she has seen the lamp in the dollhouse. She had a chance to experience something that was once prohibited from her.