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There’s a quote that says, “Woman was taken out of man; not out of his head to top him, nor out of his feet to be trampled underfoot; but out of his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved. ” Indeed, all a woman wants is to be taken care of and sincerely given love and affection. But for some, this picture is an illusion that shrouds the truth, just like in the case of Nora Helmer in “A Doll’s House.
” A woman of passion, fashion, and with a flair for gorgeous material things, Nora can’t ask for anything more than to be able to keep her family secured despite the serious debt they’re facing and to have the love of her kids and her beloved Torvald. But in the end, she must realize that her world had been a doll house all along and she, the beautiful figurine.
Readers, as the story commenced, would be able to see that Nora desires security and comfort. She grew up being her father’s doll-child and continued to still be a doll for the husband she had found.
Torvald would often refer to him with pet names like lark, squirrel, doll-baby, little featherbrain yet she never felt belittled. This is because she believed that in order to acquire the protection and love from Torvald, she must please him and should always preserver her husband’s feeling of mastery.
But above that, Nora expresses a need for power and mastery which she fulfills in a self-effacing way by identifying with Torvald. She exults in the fact that “all the employees at the Bank [will] be dependent on Torvald now: “What fun to think that we—that Torvald—has such power over so many people” (Act I).
She bristles when Krogstad speaks disrespectfully of her husband because she participates in Torvald’s glory, and any threat to his status is a threat to her own. (Paris 42) Nora all through out had been very enduring and this is her trait that mostly stands out. A common person would be demeaned by every pet name her father and Torvald ever called her but instead she felt just the same, quite pleased even. As the threat of the immense debt she and her husband face arises, she persevered to save and work hard than let her husband know. She believes protecting her husband is the right thing to do.
She even says, “Torvald has his pride – most men have – he’d be terribly hurt and humiliated if he thought he’d owed anything to me. It’d spoil everything between us, and our lovely happy home would never be the same again. ” (Act 1) At the end of the story, Nora finally realized that for most of her life, she had only been a doll, playing and moving according to what her master says. Her realization came from a great shock. For deeply protecting her husband, secretly and enduringly saving to pay off the large debt they obtained from going to Italy, she had hopefully believed that Torvald would sacrifice himself for her.
But instead her calls her a hypocrite, a liar, a criminal and told her that she’s prohibited to bring up the children. Bernard J. Paris analyze Nora’s reaction saying: Her dream has been shattered; her image of Torvald, her bargain, her hopes are all exploded illusions… Enraged, she feels now that she does not love Torvald and that he has never loved her. (44) She became aware and decided to leave her doll-house, and even her children, to learn and become a woman and a real wife and mother. (Shengold 215) As we look at how the things have went, we may say that in a way, Nora deserved what have happened to her in the end.
She may have been living at a time when women are supposed to be more reserved and submissive but as a person she still have her rights. But instead of using it and standing by her principles from the start, she chose to delight at the comfort and ease that the doll house offers. From this incident, we may say that Ibsen is trying to show us the theme of inner strength and conviction to overcome obstacles. Always in one’s life, there would be struggles and conflict but by staying strong and persevering, one would always see it through.
Nora Helmer as a person has dreams she wants to achieve. Even at the start, as she tries to protect her husband, she has already visualized a plan, a part of the future she wants to happen. With this, I relate to her. While I still have a long way to go and more obstacles to overcome, there are things that I dream of and plans which I further want to come to reality. Like Nora too, I desire to live a comfortable life with my family and be able to protect them from any great dangers that may arise. A person can only be so strong when their hearts purely wish to be strong.
Life would always give us challenges, some may even seem life-threatening, but if we believe in ourselves and we stand by our principles just as Nora did at the end, then everything would be alright. Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” on the whole, is a wonderful play, very realistic and a story from which anyone and everyone could learn a thing or two. The plot and themes of the story are well thought yet it didn’t need to use very deep words that may confuse the readers. Nora Helmer is a representative figure of women; she is submissive at first, very demure and frail.
Yet as the story progresses she begin to understand that even as a woman, she have equal rights as her husband, and even as a woman too, she have her own mind to decide what is good for her and what is bad or to decide whether something told to her is true or plain fallacy. Works Cited Roberts, Edgar V. “A Doll’s House. ” Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2003. Paris, Bernard J. Imagined Human Beings. New York: New York UP, 1997 Shengold, Leonard. Haunted by Parents. Connecticut: Yale UP, 2007
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