Theme and message

The main theme of the short story “The Doll’s House” by Katherine Mansfield is class division and social injustice. The interesting thing is that this theme is illustrated by both adults and children. Keep in mind that the short story was inspired by real people and events which Katherine Mansfield knew – including her and her sisters – and that the author wanted to criticise New Zealand's society in which class division and stratification was something ordinary.

Class division and social injustice

This theme is illustrated in the short story by both children and adults. First, we get to know that the Burnell family is definitely well-off and that the parents dislike sending their daughters to school together with people with lower social status:

For the fact was, the school the Burnell children went to was not at all the kind of place their parents would have chosen if there had been any choice. But there was none. It was the only school for miles. And the consequence was all the children in the neighborhood, the Judge’s little girls, the doctor’s daughters, the storekeeper’s children, the milkman’s, were forced to mix together.

The word “forced” shows how difficult this situation was for those in the higher class, who wanted to pres...

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