How would "The Doll's House" by Katherine Mansfield be different if it was told from Aunt Beryl's point of view?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Considering that Aunt Beryl's character denotes a high degree of bias against the Kelvey sisters, it is likely that her story would have been less about a doll's house and more about "the incident" regarding the unwanted presence of the Kelveys the day when she ran them out.

Since the...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Considering that Aunt Beryl's character denotes a high degree of bias against the Kelvey sisters, it is likely that her story would have been less about a doll's house and more about "the incident" regarding the unwanted presence of the Kelveys the day when she ran them out.

Since the original story is told from the point of a third-person omniscient narrator, the content is general, insightful, and without bias. What takes place is exactly what is occurring. Conversely, a story told from the perspective of Aunt Beryl would likely be told in first-person subjective. This means we would only know what goes on in the story through the eyes of Aunt Beryl, and with whatever bias or constructed opinion Beryl has about it.

The first thing Beryl will tell us about the doll's house is that it was a gift from a very generous guest of the household. She is likely also to spend some time telling us more about "Sweet of old Mrs. Hay, of course; most sweet and generous!" and about how her generosity led her to give the doll's house to the girls.

We cannot ascertain for sure if she will focus on any positive, tender commentary on the house, or its description, but it is more likely that she will definitely tell us how strong the paint smells on it.

The smell of paint was quite enough to make any one seriously ill, in Aunt Beryl's opinion.

The original story focuses more on the aesthetics of the doll's house, and the narrator uses youthful, positive, and happy comments, such as that the house was "perfect"

Perfect, perfect little house! Who could possibly mind the smell? It was part of the joy, part of the newness.

Those are definitely words that would not be uttered by Beryl, or else she would have said them in the third-person narrator version of the story.

Beryl would then probably skip to the part on how much attention her nieces were getting at school because of the doll's house. She may talk about her frustration at the many kids visiting the home, although these kids were all well-to-do just like the Burnells.

Beryl will likely bring up Kezia's bad behavior at inviting the Kelvey girls to see the doll's house. She will probably spend a lot of time describing how undesirable the Kelveys are, and talk about how their mother is a washerwoman who dresses them with hand-me-downs from neighbors. She will likely mention the tawdry details of the Kelveys' father, who is thought to be a drunkard in jail. Coming from Beryl, who feels better about herself when she takes her frustrations on others, "now that she had frightened those little rats of Kelveys and given Kezia a good scolding, her heart felt lighter." She will likely spend more time expanding upon the bad aspects of the Kelveys to justify why she was so horrible to them when she ran them out of the house.

The end of Beryl's story will likely be a statement on why people should stay socially separated in order for these "unbecoming" events to be prevented in the future.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team