A Doll's House

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A contributing factor to the story "The Doll's House" by Katherine Mansfield is the characterization of Kezia as she travels in her innocence through the symbolic world of experience. Kezia is essential to the plot because she represents a taboo, offering opposition to common ways of thinking. Through the portrayal of Kezia, as she interacts as the symbolic eccentric, Mansfield emphasizes the powers and blind justification of conformity within a society. The story commences with the arrival of the doll's house sent to the Burnell children. The Burnells take a great liking to this new acquisition. As the two older children admire the red carpet, red plush chairs, and gold frames of this highly ornamented house, Kezia, the youngest of the girls, takes an interest in the rather simple lamp. In fact, "what she liked more than anything, what she liked frightfully, was the lamp." This infatuation symbolizes her impeccability in comparison to the others as she is drawn to the unadorned lamp. Kezia proceeds to find fault with the state and proportions of the doll's house and perfection with the lamp in its simplicity. As others take interests in the gaudy nature of the house, Kezia rebels: "But the lamp was perfect. It seemed to smile at Kezia, to say 'I live here.' The lamp was so real." Conflict intensifies as Kezia remains the odd ball. The appreciation of the lamp is a metaphor for the actions to come. Kezia likes the lamp because she does not know any better. Thus, she decides to befriend the Kelveys because she doesn't see anything wrong in doing so. The Kelveys are a family that are shunned because of their economic status. Throughout the town, "Many of the children, including the Burnnels, were not allowed even to speak to them." Without a second thought, school children and their families followed in the consuming tradition of looking down upon these unprivileged people. Kezia offers offset to this common path of thinking and questions such a blind following. She asks her mother, "Can't I ask the Kelveys just once?" To which, the response is, "Run away, Kezia; you know quite well why not." Mansfield successfully expresses the enveloping and controlling nature of conformity through the juxtaposition of Kezia's innocence to the prejudiced views of those who live in the world of experience. While others remain to push Kezia's nonconformist qualities down, she pursues with the Kelvey

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