The main theme of the short story "The Doll's House" by Katherine Mansfield is class distinction. The story also emphasizes the mixing of different social classes, where the Burnells are from a higher social class, and the Kelveys are in the lower ranks of the class system.
The story is in many ways a reflection of the author's own experience of growing up in rural New Zealand and attending a school where class distinction was present. When Mansfield was born, New Zealand was still under the British rule, which was another factor that helped create division among classes.
Even though the Burnells and the Kelveys are both from different social standings, they have to attend the same school due to lack of any other nearby schools. The narrative relates the cruel and elitist conduct that is directed towards the Kelvey girls.