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Minnie Wright and Nora Helmer are women living very different lifestyles. One is living the arduous life of a farmer’s wife while the other is enjoying the fruits of her husband’s white-collar occupation. One has had her youthful beauty and joy taken from her while the other is still young and beautiful. One woman lives in a typical rural area while the other enjoys a more urbanized lifestyle. Still, these women share something. Both are underestimated by their husbands and each take drastic actions to secure for themselves some type of independence and autonomy.
In the play entitled A Doll’s House, we are shown of what a picture perfect wife is. Her husband adores her so much, she plans for the whole family how their holidays are spent, and she hired household help, has a nanny, is good friends with her husband’s friends, plays with her children, and worked hard alongside her husband during the times that they did not have much money to spend.
Although she is not as rich as she would have wanted, she was able to go travel to a different country after getting married and she gets to learn a social dance, which is of that time a very good skill when you are a young and beautiful housewife. The facade of her life is so much like a doll’s house, albeit what the people do not know is what happened so that she and her husband have lived as well as they are living right now.
Minnie Wright, on the other hand, has been living dreadfully in seclusion. She used to sing for a choir when she was younger and has a beautiful voice, but when she got married to John Wright, her whole world revolved around the house. She did not join women’s groups, did not interact much with the other women in town, in fact she was pretty much consumed in all the household and farm work, that she barely left their house. Her only joy was believed to be a cheap canary, which was later discovered to be dead by the women who were with their husbands during the investigation.
Both Minnie and Nora, though living different lives, were bonded by the same grief. Nora did everything in her power to keep a public image that all is well, and she has kept a secret from her husband. She borrowed a huge sum of money to pay off for their trip to Italy and has been paying this ever since. Unfortunately, her husband found out threw a raging fit at her; only in the end he wanted her back. But Nora made up her mind and refused to continue living in a doll’s house. Minnie, in contrast, was so fed up with her life that when her husband wrung the neck of her pet canary that she loved dearly, she tied a knot around his neck and killed him.
These stories tell us that everybody is going through a struggle in their lives. These struggles vary for each person, and how each individual is going to get out of it solely depends on them. Both of these women have been keeping to themselves and carrying their burdens for a very long time now such that when they were provoked, they did what they always wanted to do: get rid of their problems and run away.
Nora was always looked down by her husband as someone who needs him for money and for basically everything in her life and when he founds out about what Nora did for him, his pride goes away and wants Nora out. Minnie, when provoked by her husband when he killed her canary went delusional and carried out her quilting by knotting her husband’s head.
Respect for each other’s capabilities and for each other’s interests and individuality is what seemed to lack in both husband-wife relationship. A healthy relationship does not survive on love alone, but love and other things like respect, understanding, and trust.
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