How is hope represented in Katherine Mansfield’s "The Doll’s House"?

Hope is represented in "The Doll's House" through the actions of Kezia. She shows kindness to the Kelvey girls and provides hope that perhaps the discrimination she has been taught will not be the way she chooses to treat people.

Expert Answers

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

The Kelvey girls are the object of scorn in their town. The Burnell parents don't appreciate having their daughters in the same school with common children, such as the children of the storekeeper and the milkman, but all parents forbid their children to even speak to the Kelvey girls. Else and Lil have no known father, and people claim he's in prison. Mrs. Kelvey is a "hardworking little washerwoman" who dresses her daughters in "conspicuous" garments that she pieces together from the only resources she has available.

As every other girl in the town is able to share the experience of the Burnell's dreamy dollhouse, the Kelveys are excluded. The situation looks fairly hopeless until Kezia reaches out in unexpected kindness to the Kelveys. As they approach the Burnell property, Kezia speaks to them. Lil is shocked and tells Kezia that according to Mrs. Burnell, Kezia isn't supposed to speak to the Kelvey girls. Kezia doesn't care. She realizes that the Kelveys are the only girls who have been excluded from the experience of sharing in the wonders of the dollhouse, and she wants to include them, regardless of their socioeconomic standing in town.

The girls spend a few moments lost in innocent childhood wonder before the magic is broken by the cruelty of an adult world. The hope exists that Kezia represents an ability to transcend social stratification and that she will be a healer within her community. Perhaps this isn't an isolated moment, and perhaps Kezia will continue to recognize the value of all people instead of following the discriminating tactics of her mother.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team