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Living in a Doll's House

  • Date Submitted: 11/19/2011 07:50 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 49.4 
  • Words: 565
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Kareem Abdul Jabar
Mr. Gene Simmons
Communications Two,
A Doll House analysis
9 November 1975
The Ragdoll That Once Was Nora Helmer
Henrik Ibsen’s play, “A Doll House,” was written in 1879, which was during a time when women and men’s roles in society were looked at as being two completely separate entities, and equality between the sexes was nowhere near in sight. While men were meant to go out and provide financial support for the family, women were often relegated to a life of child rearing, housework, and submission to the husband’s needs. Although in “A Doll House,” Nora is fortunate enough to have hired help for child rearing and housework, she still has no independent means and must submit to Torvald’s every need, almost as if she were being controlled like a doll in a doll’s house.
The first moment in the play where the reader might get the impression that Nora and Torvald’s relationship is like that of a child playing with a doll (Torvald being the child and Nora being the doll), is in the beginning of Act 1, just after Nora returns home from buying Christmas gifts for the family. Torvald asks Nora what she would like for Christmas, and Nora requests money. Rather than just simply saying yes or no, he lectures her about her spending habits, and makes her beg for it in a cutesy manner, before finally relenting. Although Torvald’s response might seem like simple friendly banter, it is indicative of the hierarchy of their marriage in which Nora is dependent on him.
Nora’s dependent nature didn’t begin with her marriage to Torvald; rather it began with her upbringing from her father. She was raised to take on her father’s opinions, without dissent, for fear of upsetting him. Any opinion of her own was suppressed because “proper ladies” were expected to always be agreeable to their husbands and fathers. When she married Torvald, this behavior continued because societal norms decreed it, and she had known no other way. It is almost as if Nora’s...

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