Greetings to all our visitors from Muscat-please feel free to make a comment or just say hello-Mel U
"The Doll House" is third short story by Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923-New Zealand) that I have read this month. Obviously I like her a lot. I first read "Miss Brill" and then what some do consider her best work, "The Garden Party". I was pondering what to read next when I saw that Joann of Lakeside Musings really liked Mansfield's "The Doll House" so I decided to read that next. I can begin to see that one of the themes of Mansfield's work is the blindness of the upper classes to the humanity of those below them. In "The Garden Party" the central female character has the very nascent near Buddha leaving the palace moment when she visits a poor family but she seems to pull back from opening a door that was there for her briefly.
The action in the story is quite simple. A neighbor gives a fancy doll house to the Brunell children and they enjoy showing it off to their friends and school chums. The story seems to me set in a rural part of New Zealand (though it might be anywhere) where there is only one school so sadly the children from elite families must mix in with children of the lower classes. There is one problem at the school. I will let Mansfield tell it as I love her prose:
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 store-keeper's children, the milkman's, were forced to mix together. Not to speak of there being an equal number of rude, rough little boys as well. But the line had to be drawn somewhere. It was drawn at the Kelveys. Many of the children, including the Burnells, were not allowed even to speak to them. They walked past the Kelveys with their heads in the air, and as they set the fashion in all matters of behaviour, the Kelveys were shunned by everybody. Even the teacher had a special voice for them, and a special smile for the other children when Lil Kelvey came up to her desk with a bunch of dreadfully common-looking flowers.