The Decisions Made by Nora and Eveline and How They Affected Their Lives
The Decisions Made by Nora and Eveline and How They Affected Their Lives
In A Doll’s House and “Eveline,” Nora and Eveline confront unique circumstances that require vital decisions to be made. Pain, hatred, death of a parent, and dissatisfactions haunt the women’s thoughts and lives. The struggles the ladies face definitely become part of who they are as a person and how they put their thoughts together. Although each must act as a supporter, mother, care provider, and nurturer for their families, they realize how strenuous of a task it is and the need for individual satisfaction.
Their lives are anything but normal, and although they have quite a lot in common, the differences in Eveline and Nora are obvious and surely come into play in. So, because Nora and Eveline both have troublesome life issues to overcome, they each must make drastic decisions that will affect their lives forever. In these stories Nora and Eveline confront seriously painful issues at home. In “A Doll’s House”, seemingly rebellious Nora Helmer is treated like a child, and not the responsible adult she puts on the facade of being.
The source of this treatment is Torvald Helmer, Nora’s shallow and once sickly husband. Because it is obvious that Helmer sees Nora as an irresponsible teenager, Nora feels forced to lie to him about fickle situations only to later camouflage her lies. For example, toward the beginning of Act One, Nora tells Mrs. Linde that the previous winter, Nora had earned some extra money by locking herself up in a room and doing copying work. This is true unlike the story she told Helmer of her being locked up making Christmas tree ornaments. Nora’s lies eventually become a massive burden.
Along with Nora, Eveline Hill also encounters agonizing domestic abuse in “Eveline. ” From childhood to present time, Eveline’s father is presented as physically and emotionally abusive and disrespectful: “When they were growing up, he had never gone for her, like he used to go for Harry and Ernest, because she was a girl; but laterly he had begun to threaten her and say what he would do to her only for her dead mother’s sake” (Joyce 1169). Annoyed by the disrespect, Eveline considers moving from Ireland to Buenos Aires, Argentina with her fiance, Frank because she feels that once she moves “. . in a distant unknown country, it would not be like that. Then she would be married. . . People would treat her with respect then”(Joyce 1169). This appears to be a fine idea at first but Eveline later realizes if she actually does move to be with Frank, her promise made to her deceased mother, to take care of her father and brothers, will be broken. Nora and Eveline may share similar obstacles of life, but they each have unique character traits that show through their decisions and how they react to these obstacles.
Nora deals with being sneaky, just as a rebellious teenager. At the beginning of the play, she is seen eating out of a bag of macaroons. Later, Helmer asks her if she had gone to the candy store to get sweets. “You know I could never think of going against you” , Nora replies (Ibsen 1024; act 1). To the audience, this is obviously a lie. Not only is Nora deceitful, but she is also unmindful when it comes to the decisions she makes. At one time, Helmer was deathly ill and needed to be taken to the south to be healed.
Nora decides to borrow two hundred, fifty pounds from Nils Krogstad, a lawyer who works at the bank with Helmer, to afford this trip to the south. This appears as a good idea, but is revealed to be a poor choice later in the play. Unlike Nora, Eveline is mature and thoughtful. Eveline obviously thinks highly of Frank: “Now, in a dusty fallen world, she hopes for salvation and thinks at first that the Messiah may indeed have arrived: Frank . . . ‘would take her in his arms, . . . He would save her’”(Hart1).
Although Frank is so dear to her, Eveline keeps in mind that because of her mother’s death, she must act as a nurturer for her brothers and take care of her father. Therefore, she takes time to contemplate and consider the consequences before making this choice. The decisions made by both Nora and Eveline are vital and require much thought. As previously stated, Nora decided to borrow money from Krogstad for the trip to the south to save Helmer’s life. Not only did she simply borrow money, she forged her deceased father’s signature to get the money. This is a fatal crime and could cost Nora a lot, her life even.
Eveline decides that moving to Argentina with Frank is not wise, and staying in Ireland with her family is the best choice. She realizes that if she had gone through with this plan, she would have proven herself to be disloyal to her family. Not only is she concerned with staying to take care of her father and brothers, Eveline finds herself “. . . unable to disregard the promise to fulfill her duty, ‘keep the home together,’ and inhabit Mrs. Hill’s own doomed role (including her nervous breakdown), Eveline is condemning herself to a life of Oedipal inhibition” (Trudell 1).
Not only do the decisions of these ladies affect them individually, they affect their families as well. Though Nora’s choice seriously affects her family, the affect it has on Helmer is anything but serious: “The play depicts the father not only as absent but also as morally polluted” (Rosefeldt 1). Therefore, Helmer is worried about how he will be perceived after Nora’s lies are discovered by their peers, rather than the well being of his wife. This frustrates Nora, causing her to exhibit culturally abominable behavior.
By the end of the play, Nora abandons her family: “ The woman’s eyes are opened; and instantly her doll’s dress is thrown off and her husband is left staring at her, helpless, bound thenceforth either to do without her. . . . fully recognizing that he is not a creature of one superior species. . . . Nora’s departure is no claptrap ‘Farewell for ever’, but a journey in search of self-respect and apprenticeship to life” (Shaw 1). Helmer is then left to realize “ ‘There are two kinds of spiritual law […] one in man and one in woman […] but the woman is judged in practical matters by man’s law. He emphasizes that his society ‘is exclusively a male society with laws written by men and with prosecutors and judges who judge women’s behavior from the male standpoint’”(Rosefeldt 2). Along with Nora, Eveline also makes an astonishing decision. She comes to the conclusion that Buenos Aires with Frank is an unwise decision to make. As Eveline and Frank are waiting to board the boat to leave, Eveline is in serious prayer because she is unaware of what was about to happen. Suddenly, Eveline is hit with reality and she holds on to a rail.
Frank notices this and yells to Eveline to come with him. She refuses. This may upset Eveline but in the end it’s worth it. She can now return home to take care of her family and continue the promise made to her mother. Eveline will no longer have to worry with portraying disloyalty to her family and conscious common sense. The father’s also played important roles in the lives of these young women. Rosefeldt states, “The inherited pollution of the father also inscribes Nora’s behavior. Commenting on Nora’s carelessness about debt, helmer states that she is ‘exactly the way your father was’” (2).
Not only does Nora’s father affect her life in such a strong way, but the abuse from Eveline’s father is one the main reasons Eveline contemplates moving at first. Nora is seemingly rich, with attractive clothes, a maid , and a husband that provides for the family and protects them. This may be how it is presented but Nora’s marriage and family are best said to be facades. She doesn’t have much to do with her children because she doesn’t want to pollute their morals, and she dresses to please Helmer who is actually the main source of her pain and anger.
Eveline, on the other hand, is living in poverty. Although this is true, she appreciates everything she has and makes the best of it. Her father is abusive, but she never fails to provide for him as though he deserves it. The simple fact that she loves her family so much is the main cause of Eveline’s final decision to stay back home and Ireland. In conclusion, Nora Helmer and Eveline Hill are certainly similar, yet peculiar in their own way. Life surely is a struggle for two ladies, but they each seem to overcome the adversities they are confronted by.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 5 January 2017
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