Most broadly, the miniature oil lamp in the doll’s house symbolizes the ideas of connection and inclusivity. The best feature of the house according to Kezia, the youngest Burnell sister fixates on the lamp when she first sees it and prizes it because it seems to fit so perfectly in the house. This makes it especially pertinent in a story that is very much about “fitting in”—the Burnell sisters are popular and beloved by all the other little girls in the town while the Kelveys, Lil and Else, are despised and mocked. The lamp lacks the extravagance of the rest of the house and is a small, almost mundane feature, yet Kezia cares about it even as everyone else seems to ignore it. In the same way, she cares about including the Kelvey sisters when everyone else would rather not bother. Light is also often a symbol of hope, and the lamp thus further represents the hope that Kezia can overcome the strict class divides that rule the village. Kezia does eventually invite the Kelveys to see the dollhouse, though they are quickly scolded and shooed off by Aunt Beryl. In the end, Else smiles her rare smile because she, too, has seen, and appreciated, the perfect little lamp. Kezia and Else each share their love of the lamp despite their obvious class differences, and Mansfield seems to suggest that friendship and empathy can overcome class prejudice.
The Lamp Quotes in The Doll’s House
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. It was even filled all ready for lighting, though, of course, you couldn’t light it. But there was something inside that looked like oil, and moved when you shook it.
The father and mother dolls…were really too big for the doll's house. They didn't look as though they belonged. But the lamp was perfect. It seemed to smile at Kezia, to say, “I live here.”
Presently our Else nudged up close to her sister. But now she had forgotten the cross lady. She put out a finger and stroked her sister's quill; she smiled her rare smile.
"I seen the little lamp," she said, softly. Then both were silent once more.