The Doll's House

The Doll's House Metaphors and Similes

Like a Little Slab of Toffee (Simile)

When describing the elaborate doll's house the Burnell sisters receive, Mansfield writes that the house's door, covered in yellow varnish, gleams "like a little slab of toffee." In this simile, Mansfield makes the image of the shiny yellow door more vivid by comparing it to a type of candy with which the children are familiar.

Burning to Tell (Metaphor)

After the Burnell girls receive the doll's house, they are eager to tell the other girls at school. Mansfield writes that "they burned to tell everybody, to describe, to—well—to boast about their doll’s house before the school-bell rang." In this metaphor, "burning to tell" captures the girls' excitement through the use of figurative language. The excitement has a physical presence in the girls' body, as though the desire to share the news is a fire burning within them.

A Little White Owl (Metaphor)

While introducing the Kelvey sisters, Mansfield describes Else, the younger sister, as wearing a too-large white nightgown-like dress and having "enormous solemn eyes—a little white owl." In this metaphor, Mansfield uses figurative language to suggest that Else's large eyes and silent, observant demeanor make her presence akin to that of an owl.