What are the similarities between the characters of Kezia and Else in "The Doll's House"?

Expert Answers

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

Kezia and Else, despite coming from very different backgrounds, both seem to possess an innocence that other children have grown out of as a result of their understanding of how adults feel. For example, Isabel Burnell and her school friends have clearly taken their cues from adults in their lives, speaking without compassion regarding the Kelvey girls; Isabel and company even go a step further and are actually cruel to Lil and Else because of their poor background. Lil is aware of their malice and seems to try hard to keep herself and Else out of the cross hairs as much as she can. Kezia does not join in with her sisters and the other girls when they torture the Kelveys, and Else does not seem nearly as affected by the abuse she and her sister suffer as her sister is.

Further, Kezia adores the tiny realistic lamp in the doll's house the Burnells receive. It is "exquisite" with its "white globe," filled with a liquid meant to look like oil, as though it were "all ready for lighting." To Kezia, the lamp is "perfect" and completely "real," and she alone appreciates it. She is also the only one who wants to invite the Kelveys over, but her mother tells her no.

On the day she sees the Kelveys walking past, she invites them in, but Lil shakes her head no; Lil reports that "Your ma told our ma you wasn't to speak to us." Lil refuses the offer again, thinking of what the adults would say, but little Else wants to see the house. Even after horrid Aunt Beryl yells and chases the girls away, Else forgets her quickly and "smiled her rare smile." She says, "I seen the little lamp," as if this is the only important thing to her. It is the most important thing to Kezia, too. Only the two of them, Kezia and Else, really seem to appreciate the lamp's beauty, and so it seems to be a symbol of their shared childhood innocence, not yet twisted and ruined by the world.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team