A Doll House Reflection

The Analysis that I did of A Doll House was one of my favorite analysis pieces that I have written. Although there was a very rigid structure that had to be met, I enjoyed having the freedom to express my viewpoint of Nora, her husband Torvald, and their marriage. I felt that their relationship was a symbol of the inequality between women and men. The inequality was obvious in the play, but it also mirrored the inequality in our own society. I was only permitted by the professor to use stage directions to highlight my argument, which was also very challenging. At first, I struggled a lot to find ways to communicate what I was trying to get at while also pulling quotations from the text. How could I write about Nora’s journey without even using any of her own words? After adapting to this newfound way of analyzing literature, I was able to examine several short scenes that emphasized their unequal relationship. In addition to arguing that Torvald did not treat Nora with respect, I wanted to explain how this society was the main driving factor in the displacement of power dynamics. My main thought process can be summed up with these lines of the analysis, “What is the correlation between traditional gender roles and the prevention of developing a sense of self in a restrictive household environment? Henrik Ibsen’s short play A Doll House is a modern tragedy in the sense that it outlines the negative aspects of a traditional household dynamic that places unyielding men at the head of the household. Readers or audience members are forced to question gender roles, family relationships, and the development of self identity. Nora’s husband, Torvald, is obviously the head of the household. He makes all of the decisions, and he does not listen to any other opinions. Not only that, but he is misogynistic and emotionally abusive towards his wife, which, alongside with her desire to become an independent woman, is the driving force that leads her to progressive character development.” This analysis outlines Nora’s progress throughout the play. In the beginning it very obvious that she is a shy, quiet housewife that does not want to rock the boat in her marriage, yet we come to find out that she does feel mistreated and that she wants to free herself from this. “Nora has found herself transferred between the ownership of men throughout her whole life. From a sheltered child to a kept wife, she previously had never learned how to express that she had her own desires and opinions. She eventually learns that she can defy her male counterparts and the larger, surrounding society and its norms. Thus, over the course of the play, we see Nora progress from the timid and submissive wife, known to the reader as ‘NORA (…without raising her eyes)’ (1.829) and ‘NORA (smiling quietly and happily)’ (1.830) to the empowered female that she is beginning to discover through stage directions such as ‘NORA (shaking her head)’ (3.883) and especially ‘ NORA (undisturbed)’ (3.883).”

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