The Doll's House Questions and Answers
by Katherine Mansfield

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Why does Else smile at the end of "The Doll's House" by Katherine Mansfield?

Else's smile at the end of "The Doll's House" by Katherine Mansfield symbolizes the hope which her encounter with Kezia provided.

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Else's smile could symbolize the hope she feels of finally overcoming the stigma attached to her family. Else and Lil stand outside their society, which is even noted in the physical proximity they are granted to the girls at school:

Nudging, giggling together, the little girls pressed up close. And the only two who stayed outside the ring were the two who were always outside, the little Kelveys.

Else and Lil have learned the reality of constant exclusion and certainly have grown accustomed to the way both children and adults sneer at their clothing, the "special voice" the teacher reserves just for them, and the constant dismay over their mother's "awful" employment of being a hardworking washerwoman.

Acceptance in this town must have looked hopeless to Else and Lil. This is doubtless why Else "went through life holding on to Lil, with a piece of Lil’s skirt screwed up in her hand." The two had resigned themselves to a life of rejection and isolation, clinging only to each other.

Yet on...

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