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?

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Else Kelvey smiles at the end of the story as a result of her innocent happiness at having had the opportunity to see the beautiful doll's house and lamp. The narrator has told us that, despite the variety of families that sent their children to the village school, "the line had to be drawn somewhere. It was drawn at the Kelveys." With a washerwoman for a mother and an absent—possibly a jailbird—father, Else and her older sister, Lil, are alienated and ostracized by the other children and even, more horribly and cruelly, by their teacher. In fact, taunting Lil and Else makes the other children "wild with joy" and "deeply, deeply excited." Every other little girl gets invited to the Burnells' home to see the beautiful doll's house, and they talk about it loudly in front of the Kelveys. When the Kelveys walk past the Burnells' one afternoon, Kezia invites them to see the house, but Lil refuses at first because, she says, Kezia's "'ma told [their] ma [Kezia] wasn't to speak to...

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