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Last Updated on October 2, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 448

The Burnell Children

When a family friend sends the Burnell girls—Isabel, Lottie, and Kezia—a dollhouse, they are thrilled by its intricate details and tiny accessories. The sisters are proud and seek admiration, and as a result, they cannot wait to boast about their gift at school. Because she is the eldest sister, Isabel asserts her superiority over Lottie and Kezia and insists that she will be the first to tell their classmates about the house and issue an invitation. 

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Kezia is different from her sisters. Though she is also eager to tell the other girls about the dollhouse, she is the only character who believes the Kelvey girls should be allowed to see it too. At the end, she defies her parents’ orders and takes the Kelveys into the courtyard to see the dollhouse, after which she is scolded harshly by her aunt. 

The Kelvey Children

Lil and Else Kelvey are the daughters of a local washerwoman and a man who has long since disappeared; the other characters presume that he is in jail. The girls often seem to understand each other without speaking. Else constantly holds on to the edge of her older sister’s skirt, rarely speaks, and is never seen smiling. 

The Kelvey girls are looked down upon by everyone else in town, including the other children and even their teacher. The other girls have been instructed by their wealthy parents not to associate with the Kelveys. The Kelveys have no expectation, therefore, that they will be allowed to see the dollhouse, and they are shocked when Kezia invites them. Despite the cruelty of their peers, the Kelvey sisters do not...

(The entire section contains 448 words.)

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