A Doll's House

"The Doll House". Question: What was the significance of the lamp in the story?

I am reading the Doll House. How is the lamp important in the story?

Asked by
Last updated by lubna t #271603
Answers 3
Add Yours

The doll house is symbolic of the upper class people in this society. The Burnell children would have attended a ritzy private school had there been one nearby, but as it is, their school is the only one for miles, so they are forced to attend a school that has a mixed group of children - both high class and low class. The Kelveys are the low class children. Note that the doll house is "perfect". All the walls are papered, there is carpet, but the dolls in the house, the people, are "stiff" -- they don't seem to belong there, and then there is that smell:

But perfect, perfect little house! Who could possibly mind the smell?

The doll house may be perfect, but what it represents "stinks". The smell is the only negative thing about the house. The smell represents the cruelty of society.

The best thing about the house is the little lamp.

But what Kezia liked more than anything, what she liked frightfully, was the lamp. It stood in the middle of the dining-room table, an exquisite little amber lamp with a white globe.

The lamp always reminds me of the the song, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine..." because it represents the one, tiny shred of human kindness, the kindness that is only shown by Kezia in the story when she invites the Kelveys to see the house. While her snobby family is singing, "Hide it under a bushel" Kezia answers: "NO! I'm gonna let it shine."




Light is most often used to symbolize Nora's state of awareness. After Torvald claims to be man enough to take everything upon himself (Act 2) and while she is talking to Dr Rank, the light begins to grow dark. This symbolism refers to two processes. First, Nora is using her sexual attractiveness to manipulate the dying Dr Rank into giving her money to pay off her loan. When Dr Rank confesses his love for her, she is shocked out of her game. She brings in a lamp, telling Dr Rank that he must feel ashamed of himself now that the lamp has come.

Light also appears to symbolize hope and spiritual redemption when Dr Rank is talking in code to Nora about his coming death (Act 3). He talks of death as a big black hat that will make him invisible, an image of obliteration of life. But Nora brings him a light for his cigar as she wishes him goodbye. Dr Rank loves her, and in spite of her sometimes dubious behavior towards him, she has given him understanding, compassion and acceptance. She also means at this point, it seems, to join him in death by committing suicide. Their bond is represented on stage by the image of them standing together in the pool of light from her match - a frame that excludes Torvald.



the light in the dolls house represent the hope for the Kelve's sistersn, and the fact that kezia is the one who noticed the lamp the most is because the kindness in hr hart