The Doll's House

The Doll's House Irony

Lil Kelvey Doesn't React to Teasing (Situational Irony)

On a day at school when the girls spontaneously decide to be particularly cruel to Lil Kelvey, Lena shows off to the other girls by walking over to Lil and asking if it is true that Lil will grow up to be a servant. In an instance of situational irony, Lena and the reader expect the question to insult and hurt Lil, but Lil responds by smiling in her usual way. The moment of irony suggests that Lil is so used to being ridiculed at school that she is not surprised by Lena's question. The moment also suggests that Lil does not understand why it would be shameful to be employed as a servant.

Else Kelvey Also Notices the Little Lamp (Dramatic Irony)

At the end of the story, Lil and Else Kelvey sit on the side of the road after Aunt Beryl cruelly shoos them away from the doll's house in the Burnells' courtyard. The story's last line comes from Else, who says to her sister, "I seen the little lamp." With this line, the reader learns that Else and Lil had been listening earlier in the story when Kezia tried to get Isabel to talk about the miniature lamp she finds so fascinating. Isabel and the other girls have no interest in hearing about the lamp, which disappoints Kezia. In this instance of dramatic irony, the reader knows something Kezia doesn't: Listening from the outer edge of the circle of girls, Lil and Else were the only ones interested in hearing about the lamp.