Topics: Working class, Social class, Upper class Pages: 11 (2465 words) Published: January 28, 2013
Lesson Title:

Recognizing the important details of “The Doll’s House” by Katherine Mansfield

Date: February 2, 2012

Grade: Grade 11/12

-- Students will discuss with a partner a time from their elementary school years which they are reminded of in this story (formative)

-- Students will fill out a chart recognizing the class differences between the Burnells and the Kelveys (formative)

-- Students will answer “close reading” questions about the short story in pairs or small groups (summative – rubric attached)

Materials and Media:

-- Short Story – “The Doll’s House” by Katherine Mansfield (teacher version and student copies)

-- Audio recording of the short story

-- Differences between the Burnells and Kelveys worksheet (“Characterization Worksheet”)

-- Close reading questions worksheet

-- Definitions worksheet

-- Smartboard or whiteboard

Anticipatory Set:

Prior to class:
-- Students have read, highlighted, and considered the story -- Students have already discusses their thoughts and feelings about the story -- Students have prior knowledge of the social hierarchy of the 19th Century from their Social Studies classes; have notes on definitions of the “working class”, “upper class”, “lower class”.

At the beginning of class:
-- Teacher will review the short story with the class; ask if there are any questions, comments, or concerns about the story -- Ask students to discuss with a partner (the person next to them) a time from their elementary school years that they are reminded of in this story. Students will discuss their answers and illustrate how it relates to the short story


Katherine Mansfield uses her short story “The Doll’s House” to question the societal norms of the 19th Century. She is successful in doing so by contrasting the Burnell children with the Kelvey children; it seems each child knows their role in society. However, Kezia Burnell seems to deviate from the social norm by questioning her Aunt’s authority. Kezia invites the Kelvey children to see her doll house, knowing that it is against the rules. This story is fantastic as it shows a child’s viewpoint on the world – they really do not care what class their friend is in, they just want to play dolls with their friends. It is the parents who are the traditionalists, and want their children to hate the “lower class” individuals, just as they were taught to do. This is exactly the reason why Kezia is so revolutionary – she is questioning the current social system.

Although female students may view this story more favorably, males will also be able to relate to this story. Most students have been bullied in the past for various reasons, and Mansfield uses a point of view where we can acknowledge the feelings of both the bullied and the bully in this short story.

This story should lead to some interesting questions regarding social consciousness and social ostracism. I want to encourage students to not take everything at “face value”, and to consider the effects that bullying, social hierarchy, and even politics plays in their lives.


General Outcome 1: Students will listen, speak, read, write, view and represent to explore thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences -This will be especially evident in the anticipatory set, but will remain a theme throughout the entire class (1.1 and 1.2 may be addressed depending on class discussion)

**General Outcome 2: Students will listen, speak, read, write, view and represent to comprehend literature and other texts in oral, print, visual and multimedia forms, and respond personally, critically and creatively. -The class will focus mostly on this outcome in regard to the worksheets on close reading and comparison of the two families (2.1, and 2.3)

General Outcome 3: Students will listen, speak, read, write, view and...
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