A Doll’s House Personal Response

Throughout the play A Doll’s House by Henrick Ibsen, Ibsen makes it very clear what the role of both Torvald and Nora is. This also shows the gender roles that there were in that time. Ibsen also shows two very different relationships that are a result of having little communication versus a lot of communication. 

Nora and Torvald’s relationship is the first relationship we are introduced to and their relationship is very focused on how they look to other people, their reputation. Torvald always wants them to seem like the perfect couple, mostly for his own reputation, this results in his love towards Nora not being very genuine all of the time. Nora always just listens to Torvald no matter what and never voices that she isn’t happy or doesn’t like what’s going on, until the very end when she really reveals everything and ends up leaving. Nora says that they have not had one serious conversation in their eight years of marriage but, that isn’t only Torvalds fault, she could have started a conversation earlier so they could actually work through it and their children could have both of their parents for their whole childhood. Through this relationship Ibsen shows us that there is  no communication and no listening to each other in this relationship and how much that affects everything. The second relationship in this play is between Kristine and Krogstad, right away they start to talk about their relationship and why it ended, they figured out right away what each of them wanted and listened to each other so that they could make it work. This shows good communication and good listening skills. 

Overall this was a very good play that really makes you think about communication and how important it is in a relationship. 

A Doll’s House

We find ourselves in a stereotypical middle class household with typical ideologies. Torvald is presented to us as a stereotypical man who possesses a sexist ideology in which the woman is the one to stay in the house to take care of it and to take care of the children while the man is the one that has to work all day to provide an income for the family. Torvald is a middle class man who was recently promoted as the bank’s manager, which means way more money, power and responsibility. Torvald never saw his marriage as a modern marriage is seen nowadays, he saw Nora as a female who had house duties and that couldn’t deal with problems. He thought that she wouldn’t understand them, that is why Nora complained about how they never talk about problems until they reached the bottom of them. At the end, Torvald’s way of thinking led him into losing Nora and having to take care of the kids by himself. 

In the other hand we have Nora who at first seems to be lost into her role as a stereotypical women in the setting, but when Torvald hits her she realizes how wrong she was about everything and how blind she was. So she makes a bold decision and decides to leave her kids and leave Torvald so she can find a spot for herself in the world.

The author did a very good job on getting the correct settings for the play since I could get a lot of imagery on a Norwegian household. I enjoyed myself while reading the play and had a lot of fun analyzing it’s ideas.

Felix’s Personal Response to “A Doll’s House.”

In book “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen, made me realize that finding a partner you love, and are able to live with, is a hard thing to do. Reading Torvald and Nora’s relationship tear apart little by little every act, I’m not going to lie, it made me a bit sad, seeing this made-to-be perfect relationship faking their interest for each other. On one hand, Nora is a manipulative being and constantly being under surveillance by Torvald, as to not make him mad. 

Torvald seems to not really love Nora, but more like the thought of her being in love with him, and trying to fulfill his idea of what a man has to be. That a man has to provide shelter, food, money, and clothes, just like playing dress up with a little doll. 

Nora on the other hand, is intelligent enough to play Torvald games but also don’t get manipulated by him. 

Torvald and Nora both lost their values when they became a couple, ignoring their morals and themselves; leading to Nora leaving. I did not like how Nora left, she could’ve handled it way better—knowing her intelligence—choosing herself over everyone, including her own three kids, not caring enough to give them a simple explanation. 

It was a relationship that started in the desert, where they found an oasis thinking all of their problems would be solved, while in fact it was just another small break from reality, and when they realized that their little break was over and they needed to work with each other to scape the desert, Nora opted out. 

It was a relationship that by the second act, it was clear that they weren’t going to be together at the end of the play. 

Sugarcoating a relationship isn’t a way to work things out, and Torvald and Nora proved that, they also proved that the serious talks need to be addressed according so, and there aren’t many people willing to do that. Some, joke around to lessen the blow—like Dr Rank and Nora did (pp. 152-153).—Love is and was a hard thing to find, but I wasn’t impossible, the problem was finding someone that you are willing to love and spend time with them, while respecting yourself, their virtues, and opinions. 

PR to A Doll’s House

A Doll’s House surprised me with how good it is.  It allowed me to explore, in a third person view what a 19th century marriage looked like, obviously with some exaggeration because Torvald was a man and a half, not in a good way.  I like how the characters, specifically Nora and Krogstad grew.  At first I was somewhat disgusted by Nora and her childish behavior, and I disliked Krogstad because I saw him as the sleezy bad guy that is put there just because.  But over time I saw that Krogstad was much like shylock, a man pushed to far, and Nora was a bit naïve but her heart was in the right place and changed to be a stronger person that she was at the start of the play, a bit like Antigone.  I also like the symbolism of the one room which the play takes place in, which at the end Nora leaves.  Oh! I also liked Dr. Rank he was a cool gentlemanly kind of guy.

 

A Doll’s house Personal Response Sergio Camarillo

A doll’s house was very interesting to read as Nora’s character development can be seen with a big impact. The play presents its characters in their own way yet they all have a past affiliation with either Torvald or Nora, meaning that they are nor really new characters to the protagonists. All of these side characters have an important role in helping on Nora’s development. In particular Mrs. Linde is very important as she is the one who “gives” Nora the final push in telling torvald the truth. She is also what Nora aspired to be and in a way follows her example in the end by standing up to torvald. Dr Rank shows Nora that she has top be careful in who she trusts and the way she affects other people. At first she wanted to go around telling her secret but after she finds out about Rank’s feelings she “matures” and learns better.

Krogstad shows her that her actions have consequences and that she has to think before she acts because there will be reprecussions. We see a very mature and in a way emotionally cold Nora by the end of the play. This can be seen in the way she talks to torvald about her decision to leave him and the kids like she has been thinking of it for a long time when in reality there wasn’t much time with those thoughts. She stands up to torvald and becomes her own person in a rather cold way yet it was necessary for her to “break free”. 

What I also like about the play is that they show us the way that society was when women didn’t have many rights and privileges in a rather normal way yet criticising it. They show Torvald as the toxic and controlling husband of those times in a great way that makes me despise him. Yet its very interesting to see his character development in the last act. We can see how he truly is, by not caring enough about Dr. Rank’s death and the explosive way he reacts to krogstad’s letter.

We see how selfish he is and how he doesn’t care and respect Nora. But when Nora leaves he ends up respecting her and ends up as an equal to her rather than being the “”boss” he desperately wanted to be. I would like to think that by the end of the play Torvald learned something and became at least aware of his actions. Overall I really like the play and enjoyed the reading quite a lot.

A Doll’s House

I think the doll’s house is a very interesting book. It shows how women got treated back then and how their life in general was. How the role distribution of mother and father in a family was. It’s obvious to see what importance that had for the people. But it’s also noticable that exactly that didn’t make them happy, by them I am especially talking about Nora.

While reading the book it didn’t seem that badly of a treatment because Nora always said Torwald would do everything for her and that he treats her very well and that she can’t complain about anything. But in the film you could really see how bad he really treated her. It was so important to see the play to understand the circumastances better. It was different than I imagined it to be.

I loved the ending, when Nora finally stood up against Torwald. For once she seemed so brave and independent. While at the beginning she was more childish and dependent on Torwald. I love the character development there. But I don’t really understand where it comes from. From now on her point of view changed completely. All the time it seemed to me as if she doesn’t understand what happens to her or she just accepted how Torwald handled her. She seems to have fun playing those games not suspecting anything wrong about it. After Torwald got the letter I thought she is giving up but I was so wrong, that was the moment when she finally got the courage to stand up against him. I just wonder where that came from, what influenced her to change her mind so drastically.

Personal Response on A Doll’s House

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen brought up different social issues, for example, the traditional roles of women and men and the expected responsibility in marriage through characters Nora and Torvald. I am intrigued by this story because I can gain a perspective from Nora, who was in a toxic relationship. Her husband controlled her life like a doll, and finally brave enough to stand up for herself and step out of the family and break free. Even though I pity Nora that she had to suffer from being controlled for eight years, I am proud of her growth and standing up for herself. But at the same time, I feel empathy towards Torvald and think it is unnecessary and selfish of Nora leaving the family. In this response, I will justice my reasons.

First of all, from Nora and Torvald’s marriage, we can see the importance of communication. Nora has never attempted to voice her own opinion through the eight years of marriage. Act one even indicates that Nora falls into society’s ideal expectation of men and women in a marriage, “And besides, just think how awkward and humiliating it would be for Torvald – to know he owed me something. It would upset the entire balance of our relationship; our beautiful, happy home would no longer be what it is.” (P.117). From that line, it suggests that her ideal home is Torvald being the dominant one in the family and that she does not want to change that at that moment, and that it was later on, she finally realized it was wrong, and she should be treated better. Therefore, I do not think it is fair to blame Torvald for controlling Nora because they are both blinded by society’s standards and do not think it was a problem.

Secondly, at the end of act 3, we can see the change of Torvald from being what society wants him to be to him realizing his problems and is willing to change for Nora and go against the typical men and women’s role in marriage.
Torvald before:
“I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora- bear pain and hardship for your sake. But nobody would sacrifice their honour for the one they love.” (P.186)
“You talk like a child. You don’t understand the society you live in.” (P.185)
Torvald after:
“I have the strength to be a different person.” (P.187)
Torvald is also a victim of falling into society’s norms, he never realized that he had a problem, but he has shown that he now realizes and is willing to change.

Furthermore, I think it is selfish for Nora to abandon her children. I understand that she has had enough of being trapped in the relationship, but if Torvald is willing to change, why wouldn’t she give him a chance and stay for her children. Imagine her children waking up in the morning and realizing their mother has abandoned them. I think that standing up for yourself is essential, but being a role as a mother is just as important as that. People may argue that she is unable to become a good mother because she will pass on her negative traits to her children, but I think she should have stayed and worked on improving herself and her marriage and taking care of her children at the same time.

To conclude, I do not think that Torvald’s fault leads to Nora leaving the family, and I don’t blame and even admire Nora’s courage in going against the social norms. In comparison, I believe that society’s expectation of men’s and women’s roles in marriage caused this and that Nora and Torvald are both victims of it.

PR A Doll‘s House

Ibsens, “A doll‘s House,“ made me feel lots of emotions of uncomfort and sympathy. This was because of how real the characters’ situations are, and because of the way the characters treat each other. While reading this book I always thought that the characters’ situations were created to be very realistic. For example, Nora and Torvald are a very trope-like family that most people in our day and age have knowledge about. The man works and the woman makes the man satisfied by cooking, etc. This was what it was like in the olden days and it made me feel sympathy for women who were always treated unfairly and wouldn’t be allowed to do the things men were allowed to. I believe this play was made to give lots of emphasis on the misogyny that women used to face and still do in our current day. 

    I found that in this play a lot of the time I would feel uncomfortable with Lora and Torvalds family. The family feels fake and only happy on the outside while very negative on the inside. Lora and torvolds relationship seemed like it was only held together by the security they gave each other. It was so forced that Lora would just tolerate all of the torvalds gentil verbal abuse to ensure that she would have a good family. This weird fake family happiness made me feel really uncomfortable because it is so forced and made me feel sick. Also the way everyone would talk to Lora in a childish way was super uncomfortable. It’s like they are talking to her as if she were an object or pet, hence the name “doll house.”

    I think the author really was trying to emphasize what it’s like to be in a good relationship. Equal rights, communication, honestly, and not being fake, are what I learned to make a good relationship from this play. 

A Doll’s House Personal Response

After reading “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen, made me doubt about, what is “love” in this play? We can see different relationships between characters that we can call the feeling that they are conveying “love”, like the love that Dr. Rank felt for Nora, the love between Krogstad and Kristine, the relationship between Anne-Marie and Nora and the love between Torvald and Nora. Love is a very complicated feeling that everyone can interpret different.

First of all, how do we know that the characters are conveying love? I notice that the diction and the context that the author is giving to each character are the elements that are giving us an answer. Like Dr. Rank with Nora, before Dr. Rank confessing his love to Nora, we can see that the author is giving us an image of Dr. Rank as not only an old friend of Torvald but also a person that really pays attention to Nora. The way that he refers to Nora we can see that he is someone that truly listens to her, enjoys her presence, wants to know what she really thinks and he appreciates her. In comparison to the relationship of Nora with Krogstad, Krogstad only sees Nora as a housewife and the way he refers to her, we can see that he just sees Nora as an opportunity for him to get his job back. In the other hand, we can see that Krogstad and Kristine have an honest relationship that no matter that they haven’t seen each other for a long time, they both share their feelings and care about each other. With Anne-Marie and Nora is more about how Anne-Marie talks to Nora and their relationship more like a mother daughter relationship, “Little Nora, poor thing, didn’t have any other mother but me”- Anne-Marie. We can see that Anne-Marie really cares about Nora as if she was her daughter.

We can say that “love”  is a feeling of appreciation, interest and caring for someone no matter their differences bringing an honest relationship. In the case of  the “love” between Torvald and Nora, at the beginning of the play, the author presents their relationship as a happy couple that has everything and nothing to worry about. However, we start to see details of how they interact with each other, how Torvald refers to Nora, “my little squirrel”, “my skylark”, in a way that the author is giving a context as if he owns her. And Nora trying to do everything for Torvald so that he is happy without Torvald caring about her. Then we can see that Nora is scared to share thoughts with Torvald. Before Nora confessing that she doesn’t love Torvald anymore, we can compare the other relationships with Nora and Torvald and identify that what they have is not love, they don’t share a connection. Nora grew up with the idea of loving but she never felt love. So she thought that what she felt with Torvald was the same feeling of “love” as her relationship with her dad and then realizing it is not love. And Torvald was in love of  the idea that she did what he said, to control her and he was being selfish. We can now see that since the beginning, their relationship doesn’t define how the author represents love.

PR: A Doll’s House

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is a a play about love, money and equality. These key themes seem to be reoccurring in much of classic literature that we are reading in grade eleven. As seen in other texts like The Merchant of Venice, there is many connections between love and money, and which is the “right” thing to choose.

When reading the play, I was surprised by many things, namely the dialogue and the ending. For these reasons, I found the play entertaining and quite interesting. The dialogue was the first thing that caught my attention. It isn’t written in a way where it seems that realistic, however it does a great job of expressing one of the key points of the play, that marriage is a two way affair and that equality is not always present. A great example of this is how Torvald talks to Nora like a child throughout the play. For example, on page 112 Torvald says:

“Can’t be denied, my dear little Nora. My spending-bird is sweet; but it uses up an awful lot of money.”

This quote shows how Torvald refers to Nora as childish or not very authoritative names. In this example, Torvald refers to Nora as “my dear little Nora” and “My spending-bird”, both of which make Nora seem inferior to Torvald. The peculiarity of this name calling is a very subtle way of foreshadowing the ending, because in the end, Nora ultimately leaves Torvald because of how she is treated by him and how their relationship seems artificial (they don’t really love each other).

The ending was surprising to me, and also quite powerful (and imaginably shocking to those watching the play when it first showed) because of the final dialogue between Torvald and Nora, and how Nora just left at the end of the play. When Nora kept mentioning “a wonderful thing” was going to happen, I was confused at first (mainly because the ending was spoiled for me, and I knew Nora was going to leave Torvald). When the “wonderful thing” was finally revealed–that Torvald would forgive Nora and see that she borrowed money out of love–, it made a lot of sense to me. I completely agree with Nora that the bond she took out was to save her husband’s life, and he should have thanked her rather than scolded her. Although, this makes me think, if most people in this time were raised like Torvald, how should he know any better? If Torvald was raised to believe that women cannot act without their husband’s permission, in his eyes, he was doing absolutely nothing wrong. This is also true for many modern day problems such as racism and still, sexism. People are raised to believe certain things and do not understand not all of it is right.

This message of the play is very powerful, and Nora leaving Torvald creates a strong impact on the reader, especially because on the surface they seem to have a loving, intimate, happy relationship. The shock of Nora leaving really makes the reader think about equality, and how things are not always as they seem on the surface. I enjoyed this play overall, and found it entertaining, and easy to read and understand, especially compared to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

Personal Response to A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

After finishing A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, some main takeaways that I noticed was the characterization of the two main characters, Nora Helmer and Torvald Helmer, the toxicity of Torvald Helmer and the character development and courage of Nora Helmer. I think a crucial understanding of the play is getting to know that Nora and Torvald are very unalike and very distinct from one another. We get to learn that Nora is a very childish person and very nonchalant when it comes to money, whereas Torvald is all about rules and morals and when it comes to money, he is very strict. Knowing these two characters Ibsen writes about a situation that seems impossible to fix between these two types of people. Nora believes she is right and nothing else could have been done except for what she did, and Torvald believes she is in the wrong. The situation and scenario is so interesting and appealing to the audience because of the characterization of Nora and Torvald and how we instantly know how much Torvald would disapprove of the situation. 

Another thing that stood out to me after reading A Dolls House was the way Ibsen wrote about Torvald and his and Nora’s relationship. This highlighted how most men treated women during the late 1800’s. How men were always under the impression that women needed to be “saved” or “helped” at all times and Torvald represented that image immensely. He was constantly controlling and directing Nora to the point where she was so influenced by his mindset and opinions that she couldn’t eat what she wanted in front of him. She hid the macaroons from Torvald because he made it a rule that she shouldn’t eat any. His pet names and phrases directed at Nora also depicted this image of an egotistical man controlling his “helpless” wife. He referred to Nora as a “Helpless confused little creature” and after Nora had declared that she was leaving him he referred to her as a “Blind inexperienced creature”. This showed how easily Torvald switched up on Nora depending on his mood. 

At the end of the play where we see Nora sit Torvald down to talk, we see incredible character development and strength from Nora. She tells Torvald how he doesn’t understand her and how their marriage isn’t really a marriage. This moment was my favourite scene in the play and to me it represented Nora’s courage and strength getting out of that relationship that made her feel small and unhappy. She mentions how she has been treated like a doll over the course of her life and that she needs to find herself and not be played with/ controlled. I felt proud of Nora for speaking up and leaving the relationship she was in and her realization of how unhealthy and toxic Torvald was to her.

 

A Doll’s house Personal Response

Although I’ve never felt like I was a doll being played with by other people, I am able to relate to many of the situations Nora faced. I often feel that my life is controlled by others with good intent, but who don’t respect what I want. The main place I find this is with education, I am constantly being pushed and persuaded by both my school and my parents to do things that I’m not sure I even want to do. But each time they will say that it is what I want or need. This is minor compared to what Nora faced but I do sometimes feel like quitting everything and just figuring things out for myself. I won’t of course, because unlike Nora what I face is actually good for me, but it just feels similar.

I can also relate to Nora’s ‘awakening’ scene, where she all of a sudden knows what she wants and snaps from childish to serious in an instant. I experienced this myself in almost an identical way but instead of with love it was with friendship. I was friends with someone for a long time but there were many problems going on that I didn’t even realize. It was somewhat toxic even, but I was ignorant to it because we both still liked each other and neither of us had direct problems with each other. I had my awakening moment when I separated schools with them and all of a sudden I realized that they weren’t the right friend for me. It wasn’t that I stopped liking them, and even now I still remember that friendship positively, but I was better off without it.

Something I really enjoyed with the play was modern the style seemed. The extreme realism mixed with the internal thoughts and common dialogue made it feel like a modern day film and I found myself engaged all the way through to the end. The use of sound and imagery is exactly like that of a modern film and it is easy to follow, unlike the Shakespearean play we just read.

Similarly, I like the contrast of this literature piece compared to our previous ones. Even if it is not always the main theme there is always sexist oppression. However, in this one it is different when Nora has a girl boss moment and stands up for herself by leaving. This is likely why there was such an intense reaction from the public when this play was written because it went against all the norms. This idea of a woman walking out is very common nowadays and I think it was Ibsen who first introduced it. This only adds to the modern feeling of the play, because something like this was not possible back then, but is possible now.

Overall, I really enjoyed this play and look forward to both watching the movie version of it, and looking at similar pieces of literature. I know it is not mandatory but I also found myself starting another of Ibsen’s plays Ghost. A Doll’s House has been my favourite piece of literature we’ve looked at so far and would recommend to anyone who did plot summaries to go back and read it.

A Doll’s House

A doll’s house by Henrik Ibsen was a really interesting play that made me ponder about the roles of women and men and the responsibilities and expectancies of a wife and a husband. I was quite triggered by how Torvald acted and engaged with Nora as if he owned her and she was his property. I also think it was quite disrespectful of him to say rude things about her father and compare those qualities to his wife. Appearance vs reality was a theme that really stood out to me because, at first, everything seems like a “dollhouse”, perfect and flawless on the outside. A good business, a husband who worked and earned money, a beautiful wife who seemed joyful during the holidays, and their children. What could possibly be wrong with a lovely looking family and money? However, within that dollhouse, the perfect dollhouse was not as pretty as it seemed. This play emphasizes that having a good appearance does not lead to a happy, contentful life. The three symbols and themes that stood out to me were money and its role at that time, healthy relationships, and the symbol of birds used to represent Nora in the play. 

Money was a very critical symbol demonstrated in the play. Money showed men’s control over women as women did not have equal access to it as men did at this time. The play started off with Noras asking for money in a very childish way to get the money she needs. However, at the end of the play, Nora doesn’t want anything that belonged to Torvald. Because Nora was dependent on Torvald for everything, she was stuck in a toxic environment where she was treated like a doll. Her financial situation and reliance on Torvald gave Torvald a sense of power that he definitely took advantage of. On the other hand, Christine showed another perspective of a woman at this time. She could make money, therefore, she could make her own independent choices and not rely on a man. 

Healthy relationships was a theme Ibsen demonstrated by comparing Nora and Torvalds toxic relationship to Christine and Krogstad who showed a healthier relationship. The relationship between Nora and Torvald was so toxic because of the dishonesty and miscommunication that happened, as well as Torvalds big masculine ego that took over him. Torvald not only was the man of the house, but was also the controller of the house. He controlled Nora to a point where she did not know who she was anymore and was therefore treated as a child. Nora was told what to wear, what to eat, how to act, and her primary purpose was to please her husband and be the best obedient wife she could be. As the man of the house, Torvald took charge of her, having her stuck in his manipulating toxicity. Ibsen shows us this toxic relationship where honesty and communication was a joke and meant nothing. He shows us how dependent Noras was on her husband and the power that it gave him over her. In contrast, Christine and Krogstad both struggled in their lives but valued honesty in their relationship. Krogstad, unlike Torvald, was happy with Christine supporting him financially. They had open and honest communication, showing a better representation of healthy relationships where two people are equal and are not there to control each other but instead supporting and respecting each other. 

Although Torvald treated Nora like a doll, he calls her by animal names, specifically bird names throughout the play which was a significant symbol. For example, when Nora was happy in the way that Torvald wanted, he referred to her as “my sweet little skylark”, “my little songbird,” and “a hunted dove” more than five times (Ibsen 7, 30, 73). When she was upset, she was referred to as a “Dove” and Torvald said, “A songbird must have a clean beak to chirp with—no false notes!” (Ibsen. Act 1. Page 435). Birds represent how Torvald views Nora as a fragile creature who’s meant to look pretty, please, and entertain him as he wishes. Nora’s weakness and reliance on Torvald are conveyed by his insistence on calling her diminutive names. By the end of the play, the analogy of a bird can also be used where Nora, trapped in a cage, can set herself free and fly away, finding her identity.

Overall, I appreciated the play since it demonstrated Nora’s development and strength, showing that she is a self-sufficient individual with no defined role. She also tells Torvald that she considers herself a decent human being, just like him, establishing the equality of men and women in terms of rights and freedom.

 

Personal Response to A Doll’s House

A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen’s nineteenth-century stage play chronicling a young woman’s brief but powerful journey of self-realization, is one that certainly turned (not to mention reddened) quite a number of heads back when it was first produced. Viewers were so outraged by the story’s conclusion that Ibsen was forced to write a second, more ‘appealing’ ending, which completely undermined its intended message and Ibsen himself described as a “barbaric outrage.” It is partially these themes and ideas which the contemporary audience found so offensive that make the play so interesting to examine in depth.

For me, easily the most impactful element of the entire play was the character Torvald Helmer. Although any surface level description of his character would paint him as a caring, protective individual, every single one of his lines I read made me dislike him more. Ironically, this is indicative of how well the character is written. His saccharine, borderline creepy interactions with Nora create a sense of unease in the audience, slowly building up to the conclusion when his pleasant veneer falls away, before being replaced just a little bit too quickly. However, one of the most unnerving things about Torvald is it’s clear he’s not being intentionally harmful or malicious. His worldview and experience have simply shaped him into an individual who always wants to be in control of every situation, something he himself probably doesn’t even realize.

A relatively minor detail that I personally appreciated is that the play takes place entirely within one room of Nora and Torvald’s house. Although this is most likely just a matter of it not being feasible to switch out or move around so many props between scenes, this choice in setting creates a subtly constrictive atmosphere for the entire play. Every relevant interaction and conversation takes place within this one room, illustrating how this house is literally Nora Helmer’s entire life and how trapped she is by it.

All of these little events and clues culminate in the conclusion of the play, easily the part that sparked the most controversy among the contemporary viewers. It’s at this point that Nora realizes the harm done to her by her father and husband, describing herself as a “doll,” treated by both of them as a plaything rather than an actual human being. Seeing Nora finally accept what the audience has known for the entire play is an exceptionally cathartic moment, as is her decision to leave behind her old life so that she can discover who she is beyond the influences of others. In mid-eighteen hundreds society, when women’s social duties were extremely family-centric, it’s no surprise that such a narrative development would be so controversial. However, this may be one of the most emotionally powerful scenes of the entire play, a fact that the play’s audience obviously missed due to it not fitting into their fragile worldview. Hilariously, this is probably proved Ibsen’s point.

A dolls house personal response

A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, was an exaggerated playwright of a classic white middle-class family during the late eighteen hundreds. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece because of the controversies, and the writing. The play started off by creating the setting of a couple with kids and a weirdly intimate relationship. As the play progressed, the reasoning comes forth and it allowed the reader (me), to see why Nora acted the way she did, and what kind of person Torvald; or as he liked to be addressed, Mr. Helmer. This play prompts important questions and answers. In A Doll’s house, Ibsen makes it clear that marrying for money never works out, both Nora and Mrs. Line married for financial stability; in both cases, it did not work out. This leads me to believe that when finding someone to marry, you should base the decision on how you feel about the person, and not if it will be financially beneficial.

In all honesty, Torvald creeped me out by the way that he addressed Nora like he owned her, or had possession of her. These convoluted ideas of his seemed to derive from him giving her money as if it was some sort of allowance. Torvald described Nora as “his” little songbird and told her how to dress and act and even dance. This was to be expected because it was in the name A Doll’s House; she was his little plaything and show toy until she came to the realization that he only liked her for how she looked to others, and how it helped his name, and honor, and how it made  his perfect house look. “Bought you say? All that? Has my little spending-bird been out frittering money again?” (Ibsen, Act 1, scene 1, page 2). At the very start of the play, Torvalds condescending tone is brought forth. Ibsen does a good job to set the scene an show the relationship: Nora hiding the macaroons from her “father” (Torvald) and Torvald questioning his “daughter”. Of course they are not actually father and daughter but without a little background knowledge and critical thinking, this scene could be easily mistaken for a father and daughter conversation.

I do think that Nora’s predicament was caused by her poor decision making and childish behavior, but this play more brings to light how messed up relationships can be. This play was exceedingly unpopular during its time, because people could relate to it, and it did not make them look like good people. The reason why this play is so well known today is because of its controversial ideas and its perfect writing which ties the beginning to the end and visa versa. This was an enjoyable read and I would be likely to recommend this book to someone else.

A Doll’s House PR

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen talks about ignorant men with huge egos and how they think that they have full power over women. In this story Torvald acts as if he owns his wife Nora. When reading this I was disgusted. Every time that he called her names like “my little songbird”, or “my little spending-bird” I grew a stronger hatred for him. He never realized that she might not like. It is as if she is just his pet and that he has full control over her. I found it amusing how although he thought that he had full control over Nora when in reality Nora can be smart and sneaky and she actually has a lot of control over herself. She sneaks macaroons into the house and eats them, which is against Torvald’s rules for her. She also forged her late father’s signature which is for one, illegal, but secondly was to borrow money to save Torvald. Borrowing money is against Torvald’s ‘rules’. This made me as the reader more of a fan of Nora than of Torvald because she is sneaky. Usually this would make me less of a fan of her but since her husband is so controlling I am on her side. He treats her like a doll, hence the name A Doll’s House, and I despise him for that.

I do not like how Torvald kept Nora and her life how he wanted it to be. He believed that he was the leader and had control over her. He was not letting her be who she wanted to be. At the end of the story I was relieved when she finally told him that she wanted to leave him. She had lived most of her life with him, as a child, than as an adult.

I like how this play shows what seems to be a happy married couple which turns into   a play about gender bias and emancipation during the 1800s. It is nice that Nora frees herself from Torvald’s grasp at the end of the play.

A Doll’s House Personal Response_Zack

It is in life that lies many problems, questions that often remain hard to answer and it only gets easier after experiences and mistakes that we’ve made throughout the journey. This can be applied, too, with the matter of love, since there are so many things we must figure out not on our own, but with our partner: how can we love them in their worst? What are our roles in our relationships? What is the role of love in our relationship? It is in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen that gave us many valuable answers as well as lessons to these questions. This is most evident in the dynamic between the two main couples of the play: Torvald and Nora, Krogstad and Linde.

Through the dynamic of these two couples, Ibsen has first and foremost, given readers a clear answer about the role of men and women in relationships, is that both has duty to listen and empathize each other. For example, Krogstad and Linde might not have a stable relationship since they are in the tangle of can the job offer from Torvald, but what sets them apart most is that they are willing to sit down to figure that out together. What was even more surprising for readers is that it turned out Krisitne wants to get back together with Krogstad because she finds no pleasure in working only for oneself and Krogstad understood her and accepted her love. This prime example is what has set this couple way apart from any other characters dynamics, because they have learnt to value each others’ thoughts, concerns and they were willing to compromise to reach a better ending together. Through this idea, readers can have very straight-forward understanding about the value of listening: if we can not listen to each other, we will not be able to understand what our significant other needs or wants. On the sharp contrast, Torvald and Nora reflects a more unhealthy relationship: not once have they have a serious conversation together in their 8 years of marriage, that is not until the near end of the play. Not only so, Torvald always treat Nora like an object no more or less and his expression of love towards her is something not very genuine. Although it is mainly about Torvald’s part of fault in their relationship, some critics for Nora can be that she never voice her concern with him while always play along the game their game of marriage even though she is not entirely happy at all. Again, it is in this example that readers can understand how honest, open communication matters so much in a relationship.

Not only communication matters in relationship, but the author has also shown that love can be important too, in that they serve as a part of a feedback loop: love and service. Going back to the example of Krogstad and Linde, although Linde’s claim of wanting someone so she can work for sounds rather self-centered, but her intention is still to contribute for a higher and better purpose than her own self. It could then be said that because Kristine loves Krogstad that she wants to support him and because she supports him, she loves him, so that goes both ways.

Overall, A Doll’s House was a wonderful play that showed readers many critical life lessons regarding love and relationship. The general message suits well to whoever seeks to understand what they can do better in their relationship.

A Dolls House PR

After reading Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”, I had observed throughout the play that Ibsen has created very “real” characters. These characters in the play had “real” problems and were very complex. For example, Nora struggled with being happy which in her eyes the only way to do that was to make sure the house was making sure her husband has everything he likes, which in reality is a very toxic and misogynistic view that a wife can only be happy if her husband is kept happy. Ibsen uses these real problems to create a story that is interesting because viewers/readers can actually relate to the suffering of the characters because the characters seem like “real” people. Personally reading this play in our day and age, I find myself hating Torvald. I think the reason I most hate him is that he seems real, he has created a toxic atmosphere for his wife where she can’t even be herself, but at the same time, his wife saved his life by doing something against his will. So it is a complex situation with Torvald being the person of utmost attention because these issues are really his fault directly and indirectly.

For most of this play, we witness Nora’s struggles for the happiness of other people (mostly Torvald), but at the end, we see Torvalds faults come back for him and his struggles create a route of happiness for Nora. When Nora walks out, she is no longer obligated to the “happy home” and “happy husband” responsibility, meaning she no longer has to suffer for other’s happiness, whereas now Torvald is going to have to go through those suffrages that she once did in order to maintain his family. This at the time of the play was a very controversial thing, but now we would see that as something Torvald deserves. So as well as having these real problems he also brings justice to these problems, but the thing is its not complete justice for Nora because Nora now has to go into a misogynistic society where we saw from Kristine, is very hard for a woman to get by and live a happy life by herself in that time period, so I found that very interesting because there is justice but Nora still is suffering. In short, Ibsens “A Dolls House” was very interesting because of the realism in the characters and their struggles as they are very real and are observable in real life and also because of how the play ends with Nora walking out leaving us with a question of whether Nora really got her justice or not.

“A DOLL’S HOUSE” BY HEINRICH IBSEN

“A Doll’s House” by Heinrich Ibsen portrays the concepts of love, deception, trust and gender bias. As we know, the play takes time in the early/mid 19th century, during this time there is a huge difference between men and women; men are the leaders of the households, they work and maintain income for their family, whilst the women are the ones who raise the children, aren’t allowed to work and are married off as soon as they reach maturity.


At the beginning of the play, we are introduced to Mr and Mrs Helmer. At first one might believe that they are a perfect family with not many struggles, but as we begin to discover who are main characters are in more detail throughout the play, we realise that their relationship is quite odd as well as deceitful. We can use the example of a scene where Mr Helmer is upset with Mrs Helmer, he claims her to be and act like a child, but the hypocrisy comes whenever we see that Mrs Helmer whilst acting as a child at times asks Mr Helmer for support and guidance and without any question, he coddles her and allows it. This is where we can see an interpretation of the saying “Do as I say, not as I do”.


Throughout the play, we also see the concept of deception, when Nora is constantly asking for extra money for “Christmas Presents” which is true to pay off debts that she has from her previous endeavours. Mr Helmer, clueless of his wife as well as their life, conceits to it but later on finds out the truth.


In this play, we see over and over how deception that every single adult character in the play portrays. We see it in Christine as well as in Krogstad when they both decide to team up in order to bring the Helmer household down.


Overall, I personally did like the play since we see how in today’s world vs the older times, there is more acceptance of imperfect people, there is not as large of a gender bias, nor is there as much lack of opportunity, that being said, I personally would not recommend this to anyone. But I will also like to add, that whenever we go over plays like these, I think it is smart to compare the kind of education people received back then vs now and see the impact it has on society.

Personal Response to A Doll’s House

Role play appears to be the norm of the in A Doll’s House. Rather than being their own selves, the play’s protagonists pretend to be someone that others wish them to be. Nora is the one who stands out the most as a character whose acting is almost perfect, to the point that she seems to have two lives. Nora gives the impression of an obedient, money-hungry, immature wife to the viewer. Nora seems to only want money from Torvald in the first act. She does not waste much time in asking for money after telling Torvald what she just got for their kids in their first meeting. Even when asked what she wants for Christmas, she says money. Torvald treats Nora as though she were a child or even a horse, which is revolting, “my little songbird shan’t go trailing her wings now. Hmm? Is my squirrel standing there sulking?” (Page. 111). He seems to be conversing with a little girl. And he says it while handing her money, making their exchange feel like a grown grandfather handing money to his precious, beloved young granddaughter. Nora seems to be more of a cherished possession than an equal partner in marriage as a result of all of this. Nora is introduced to the reader as a simple-minded, faithful trophy-wife in this way by Ibsen. The audience is unaware, however, that this is just Nora’s position in the household.

Nora seems to finally grasp what she has seen and what needs to be done at this stage when Torvald is furious at her for what she has done when he discovers the debt he ows and Nora’s forgery. She now recognizes that she has not been herself since they have been married. She claims, “When I look at it now… I’ve lived by doing tricks for you, Torvald. But that was how you wanted it.” (Page. 182). She realizes now that she has become nothing more than a source of amusement for her husband, who will make her dance for him. And, as much as Torvald may have chastised her for her immature actions in the end, Nora points out that it was for doing the tricks and acting like a doll was what he admired in her.

Nora justifies her decision to leave the house by claiming that she has to think more about herself “But now I intend to look into it. I must find out who is right, society or me.” (Page. 185). Nora is now portrayed as a calm, conscious human being who understands that not everything one is told must be followed. She recognizes that there are aspects of culture and its traditional beliefs with which she may disagree, and which may be incorrect. Torvald then offers to teach her, but she declines because she realizes she must educate herself, or at the very least away from him. She also mentions that they never spoke serious things, which she thinks is why she believes he isn’t qualified to teach her, as well as the fact that he has looked down on her since they met.

Nora appears as a self-assured, strong-willed woman who knows just what she wants. Nora is not only Ibsen’s way of showing women’s strength of character, but she also helps to show women as human beings on par with men. Nora also mentions that, aside from the misconception of women as the lesser sex, some aspects of society. Nora’s presence in a double life demonstrates much of this. On the surface, she appears to be a sweet, fun doll to her husband, father, and even her friend Mrs. Linde, but it is only after they hear about her secret life that they begin to admire her for more than just a pretty girl. Nora can use her second life to show that she can work, that she can deal with a lot of pressures, and that she can do whatever she puts her mind to. This secret life is what eventually leads to her being saved from the doll house, as she refers to it, and encouraging her to research and think freely about herself and society.

Personal Response to The Doll’s House

The Doll’s House is a story based on one of Ibsen’s friend her name is Laura Kieler and the part that is based on her is Nora and Torvald she had something similar happen where she took out an illegal loan to save her husband.

My thoughts on the Doll House, I think the story was very good and usually kept my attention for a lot of it, I’m not very good at staying on track with books but the movie really was good it kept my attention without me feeling bored. So that’s good but here are the reasons why I feel like it kept my attention for such a long time without getting distracted. Even some parts of the book did this as well.

First thing being that there is almost always something happening in the story, for example, when Mrs. Linde comes back to Nora’s home after Krogstad put the letter filled with the bad things Nora did. Mrs., Linde says that she used to have a relationship with Krogstad so she could go talk to him, and while that is happening Nora is trying to stall Torvald from looking in the glove box, this is one of the first ways the story keeps my attention. It is small ways that Nora is trying to stall Torvald, you can really see her emotion and how she is desperate for him not to see the letter in the letterbox.

Second things being the emotions in the story, to be fair I can only read emotion sometimes in the book but in the movie it conveys it a lot better which should be what a movie does but besides that the Emotions to me play a big part in how you interpret something some of the emotions that stuck out the most and convey the most is especially when Nora learns the truth about her marriage with Torvald while she is calm, with no expression, you can really feel this emotion of like realizing something bad about something you care about.

In all this book and movie are very nice. This is something I could read in my free time without falling asleep.

 

03/01/21, The Motivations of Krogstad

In A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, the character Krogstad is supposed to be the main antagonist in the story. Superficially, this is true because what he does in the story works against in both action and incentive against what the main character, Nora, is trying to accomplish. When Nora’s husband Torvald was ill, she was forced to find a way to raise money to allow Torvald to vacation to warmer climates to regain his health. Out of lack of option, she was forced to borrow that money from Krogstad, however this was an unsavoury option since Krogstad and Torvald are strong enemies. Torvald and Krogstad had known each other since childhood, and as adults ended up working at the same bank business. Krogstad loathed Torvald’s high salary and his higher ranking job at the bank, while Torvald loathed Krogstad for his previous crime of forgery and disrespectful demeanor towards Torvald. This conflict worsened when Torvald became head of the bank, and decided to evict Krogstad from his job.

Krogstad, in Nora’s favour, decided to threaten to inform Torvald that Nora was indebted to him, and that Torvald can’t evict him. Torvald is severely opposed to any form of credit or debt taking, believing it shows an unethical use of money, something he is willing to enforce to extreme measures. Therefore, Krogstad is portrayed as the bad character, for trapping Nora in a very difficult position and exploiting their transaction in a way that most benefits himself, which would take away the stability of Nora and Torvald’s relationship once Torvald uncovers the plot. He seems not to care what happens with Nora and Torvald, showing no compassion or thinking about other perspectives rather than his own.

Is Krogstad a bad person? That is probably not true. Krogstad has suffered lots during his life. His true love, Kristine Linde, chose to marry a rich man instead of him, making him feel despaired. Somehow, supposedly Krogstad widowed a wife a while later, yet kept two children he had with her, inciting that it was probably his wife that left him instead, for he kept the children. Krogstad was then in financial difficulty and was likely forced to resort to forgery in order to produce the money he needed. He was however discovered by the law, and had to run away, probably moving with his children to the town where Torvald and Nora live. In the film rendition of the play, we even see Torvald’s house, a poor ramshackle flat with little decoration. Hardly comparable to Torvald’s home, a well-furnished, embroidered, and ornate multi-level large house. Even more, being in trouble with the law, Krogstad’s options for finding new jobs were few, and he would find difficulty climbing the social ladder to respectability, something he desperately wanted.

Therefore it is hard to condemn Krogstad, for he has been disenfranchised from love, wealth, comfort, and reputability. Torvald however, has all four. Torvald, as a stickler for the law, does not realize the law did not ensure equity, but only justice. Krogstad, stuck in a hard place, was inhibited by the law and its believers to regain his stance. Therefore, he felt justified to exploit his contract with Nora to secure his job, or else he would lose his flow of income.

The character Krogstad portrays a common theme throughout society: condemnation of the poor, and the hypocrisy of the rich. Rich people, although they may be equitable in how they get their money, are damaging to more unfortunate people through being blind to their suffering. Their ignorance to these people is something that has always been around throughout history, from feudal kingdoms to the Soviet Union. The rich live off the backs of the poor, who are not defended by laws to ensure how well off they are. So although at first glance Krogstad may seem as an inconsiderate and exploitive person, further inspection shows that he is simply struggling to survive like many people before and after him. The law is not going to help him, therefore he disrespects it and its believers and chooses to enforce the safety of his job through the contract with Nora, even if he must cause some damage to other people in order to get there.

A Doll’s House

Throughout the play, Henrik Ibsen’s “doll house”, my views and feelings about the characters are constantly changing. At first, I thought Nora was a strong woman who had no choice but to play a naive, ignorant role, but as the plot developed, she was portrayed as a naive, sheltered young woman.

I don’t like Nora, I find her annoying. Towards the end of the third act, I think Torvald’s reaction to Nora’s incident is normal, I think everyone has impulsive moments, also he was oblivious of this secret for 8 years, and he said that it was against his principle to borrow a loan. “You wrecked my entire happiness now. You’ve gambled away my entire future for me. Oh, it’s too terrible to contemplate.”(Act III, p 178). I think it is reasonable how Torvald acted, his pride and reputation is very important for a man, don’t underestimate it. If Torvald has a bad reputation, who will earn money to financially support the family? What if it ends up like Krogstad’s situation? Even though Nora has good motives, she still crossed Torvald’s bottom line, which is borrowing money. At last, I was surprised that she made a decision to leave Torvald. I totally agree with her point of view, but the premise is that there are no children, because if she leaves suddenly, I feel she is very irresponsible and it is a selfish move that she made. However, everyone has their own flaws, and she is still learning and exploring herself so I was happy when she found out that she was important and finally stood up for herself.

I actually dislike Torvald too, the way he treated Nora as a doll. Calling her names like a “song-lark,” a “squirrel,” or a “little spending-bird.” I feel absolutely uncomfortable while watching the movie nor reading the book.

Personal Response to: A Doll’s House

A Doll’s House, written by Henrick Ibsen raised many questions about what is right and what is wrong when it comes to your dignity. Nora lives in a middle-class family, meaning they have the funds to live a pleasant life. However, the word pleasant will never be a safe way to describe this family. With a loan constricting Nora’s reputation, she finds herself pleasing her husband for money. This loan is not however the only problem within the family… The love and dignity we see within the story are not meant to be together. Nora loves Torvald but the moment Torvald shows doubt in his love for her Nora realizes that she no longer loves him. “I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora-bear pain and hardship for your sake. But nobody would sacrifice their honour for the one they love” (p. 186). This is something I feel most women during the 1870s would disagree with. While the man may think that his reputation is more important than love, the women would most probably want love over reputation. The essence in which holds a family together is love, and without it, even from one person, the family cannot live. 

Nora’s character encompassed the idea of love, regret, and change, we saw these ideas as the play progressed. Nora in the book showed love towards most of the characters. She loved: her three children, Ms. Linde, Mr. Rank, and Torvald… This strong bond she shared with all these people caused her to worry ever so more about the loan and Krogstad’s ability to ruin her family’s lives. We saw that she regretted signing the loan, even if she did not say anything, we could see the regret with her facial emotions. She was trapped and her love was the only thing keeping her together but at the same time breaking her life apart. 

Living in a middle-class family, Torvald seemed like an unpleasant husband to Nora because of how he held control over her. “When did my squirrel get home?” (p. 110). With constant animal names, it seemed as if Torvald was showing the difference between Nora and him. The difference is that he was a human, and she was his little animal, his doll. A doll is something children play with, something you keep. We see how Torvald plays around with his doll Nora. With animal names and love which seems one-sided, Nora is like an object to Torvald. He controls her because he is the man, and she accepts it. Nora acts accordingly as Torvald expects her too just so she can get money from him to pay off the loan which Torvald does not know about. 

Krogstad was never a villain, he only acted for his honor and his family, which is what made his actions seem evil. Within the book, there is no inclusion as to how Krogstad’s home looks. Viewing the movie made us sympathize with him even after what he said to Nora. We realize that Krogstad is barely living, he is poor and must take care of his children by himself, he has no one really to love. Not having even an ounce of love in his life made him commit forgery and this is what ruined his entire career moving forward.  

While with some characters we can sympathize with and others we cannot, A Doll’s House shows how love can change everything within your life, it can be what makes you happy, but it can also be what causes your pain. 

Act 3: A Dolls House PR

Ibsen’s a Doll’s House was not what I expected or was hoping for it to be. I was expecting a book showing women’s rights and feminist ideas being presented that was not very excepted at the time by society. I was thinking there would be a strong female with no choice but to behave in certain ways in order to get her there way but fight against this and become an individual. We only get this in the last ten pages of the book which originally confused me and frustrated me in a way. Throughout the majority of the book, we can see Nora behaving as if she was a child while being called names of a small frivolous figure such as “Little Songbird, Little Squirrel, Skylark and little dove.” We see Nora except these names, and it is incredibly frustrating to watch, I found the urge to just want her to stand up for herself and truly speak out of her own opinion. I did not understand why Ibsen didn’t write the play in order to show how strong Nora could be and how women should not be treated as pets and as people with the same feelings as men.

I disliked Nora’s character at the beginning of this book, but towards the end of Act three, her character began to make sense to me. At the beginning of the book, Nora’s spoiled attitude towards everything was annoying, for example when Mrs. Linde comes back into Nora’s life for the first time in years, she has had a rough ten years up to this point and explains it to Nora. Nora realizing this has an incredibly rude reaction, saying. “To be so utterly alone. What a heavy sadness that must be for you. I have three lovely children. Though you can’t see them at the moment, they’re out with their nanny. But now you must tell me everything.” (P. 116) This quote to me shows how clueless Nora is to how society is, she seems to think that everyone is just like her with plenty of money, kids, and a big warm house to live comfortably in with your family. She has been sheltered so much that these things do not occur to her in conversation and make her character come off as uneducated and ignorant. Ibsen Redeems Nora’s character in the book but does not do it until the last ten pages! Nora realizes after Torvald is finished being angry with her about the Loan that he is not the man that she in love with. She takes it into her own hands to then Leave her family and find herself in the world and how society actually is instead of living the masked version of life as she has been. This was the turning point in the book that I had been waiting for the whole time. Nora finally realizes the way she has been living and becomes an individual who makes her own decisions and this to me redeemed Nora’s character.

This book made me think about we as humans are able to make life barrable to continue waking up every day with something to work towards. Nora had no work to feel accomplished about or to work towards. Don’t get me wrong being a mother comes with lots of work on its own, but Nora did not do this work, the maids did the hard work of taking care of the kids. What I’m trying to say is, when a person is living comfortably with nothing to work towards since everything you have is fed to you, you begin to think about what your purpose is and what you are doing in life. Work is a necessary part of living it helps to have something to live for and a purpose. This reminds me of Brave new world in the sense that people cannot live a masked version of life constantly. Instead, they need to become conscious of what the real world is like, in Brave new world the people live constantly on the drug Soma just to consistently stay happy and not have worries about anything as if they were robots. Mrs. Linde also shows this when talking to Krogstad “I have to work if I am to endure this life. Every waking day, as far back as I can remember, I’ve worked and it’s been my only and greatest joy.” (P.167) Mrs. line needs work in order to survive and to her is her only joy. In order to stay content as a society, we need work to help motivate us to get up in the mornings and continue living.

Personal Response: A Doll’s House

“A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen is about love, hate, and trust. With love, you have Dr. Rank secretly loving Nora and finally confessing it later in the play, (Act II, pg. 150-155), Krogstad who loved Kristine years ago, and Nora’s and Torvald’s (Questionable) love. With hate, you have again Nora and Torvald at the end of the story, and Nora plus Torvald hating Krogstad throughout the play for the things he has done. But the big factor that comes into this play is trust. Putting trust in someone you strongly dislike is a dangerous game, like Nora and Krogstad had to do when Krogstad was blackmailing her and she had to promise she would get his job back (Act I, pg. 130-136). Then you have Nora and Torvald’s dilemma. Nora is keeping all these little promises and lying to Torvald throughout the play, and that break of trust at the end of the play when Torvald finds out what happened (Act III, pg. 177-188).

My thoughts on the play are quite mixed. It was a good read but got very boring at times. I felt that there was too much talking between characters and a lot of useless dialogue that did not need to be added. Then the characters weren’t developed enough. They felt so simple and nothing interesting about them and didn’t feel likable. One thing I didn’t understand is Nora forging the contract. Wouldn’t she have done a better job of putting the date of the signature? And why did she even admit to forging it? Everything would’ve been better off if she just left it as it was. For the setting, I didn’t understand the layout. They made it sound very confusing and did not know if it was a house or an apartment complex.
The one big thing I liked about this play was the plot. I felt they did a good job on building it and the diversity it had, like the writer mixing the dark and light sides of the story. I was quite confused about the language of the play. Even though it was set in the mid 19th century, it left like it wasn’t set back then.

One character I thought had the most build-up/developed was Krogstad. For me, he was considered the “villain” for a majority of the play, but once you consider that he just wanted to keep his job so he can feed and take care of his kids, you might have second thoughts if he was the villain, or if he just desperate and went into territory he didn’t want to step in. The one character that didn’t get enough attention in my opinion was Kristine. She played an important role in the play because if it wasn’t for her, Krogstad would not have gone and not have helped Nora from Torvald. My least favourite character was Torvald. Overall did not like him as a character. He was very diverse with emotion toward Nora and a few other characters. For example: When he found out about the forgery that Nora committed, he wanted to kill her, but once it was cleared up at that exact moment, he looked like nothing had happened and he loved her again (Act III, pg. 177-188).

Overall, it was quite a confusing read, but for the most part, I enjoyed reading it and was wondering what would happen next. A few of the characters could have had better development, and the setting could have been more straight-forward, but still an intriguing play.

Personal Response: A Doll’s House

In A Doll’s House by Henik Ibsen, we are introduced to the marriage of Nora Helmer and Torvald Helmer. Nora is introduced to us as a pretty and cheerful woman living out her days as a mother and wife. Torvald Helmer is represented as cold and strict, where his transitional views carry the play. Throughout the play, we slowly see the unraveling of their marriage, and Nora’s perspective of her own life changes dramatically.

I thoroughly enjoy this play, and it’s important input about gender roles and women rights. At times, it made me feel uncomfortable and embarrassed, mostly to do with Torvald and Nora’s relationship. Nora’s first appearance seems like she was there to “represent” all women of that time. She seemed naive and silly, brought up in a world where her only importance was to look pretty and bare children. She delightfully took the role as Torvald’s wife.“To be so utterly alone. What a heavy sadness that must be for you. I have three lovely children. Though you can’t see them at the moment, they’re out with their nanny. But now, you must tell me everything—“ (pg.116) Even when talking to a close friend, she only talks about herself, completely ignoring the fact that Ms. Linde has gone through the ringer. I thought this showed a lack of character, careless for others. As the play continues, we see her own selfish show again. When speaking to Dr. Rank in Act 2, he is expressing his troubles to her, and in response she states “Oh, you’re being quite unreasonable today. And just when I wanted you to be in a really good mood.”(pg.151). To me, this shows her lack of sympathy towards others than herself. She doesn’t comfort him but instead tries to manipulate him so she can get what she wants. I started to enjoy her character more in Act 3. It seemed like she completely changed in the span of two days, became a totally different person. I thought it was very impressive of her not only to leave but to talk to Torvald about why she is leaving, “It’s not so late yet. Sit down here, Torvald; you and I have a to talk about.”(pg.181) Running away is one thing, but this is different. She isn’t just leaving her “home”, but is telling him why, hopefully forever leaving an impact in his life. I also think being able to talk about your problems and how someone did you wrong takes a lot of courage, especially for being a woman in that time frame. She was more bold, and didn’t budge when Torvald asked her to stay. I felt more connected to her when she stood up to him, showing that she now wants to go and make her own in the world.

A Doll’s House shows us Nora’s breakdown of her “reality”, and her breaking free from society’s grasp on women. She is no longer playing a role, but becoming her own person. Even if she still carries some flaws, she is doing all of us a favour by standing up for what she believes in.

Personal response: A Doll’s House

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was uncomfortable to read for me. I dislike Torvald, not because of how he appears as an antagonist where he loathes borrowing a loan even if it is for his own sake; but it is rather because everything he says is contradictory. When he tells Nora, “I wouldn’t wish you any other way than exactly as you are,” (p. 113) he means that he doesn’t wish Nora any other way than a “song-lark,” a “squirrel,” or a “little spending-bird.” He cannot accept Nora in any other way and calls her “a hypocrite, a liar,” and a “criminal” when he finds out. (p. 178) He cannot accept the depth of Nora’s character and truly treats her like his possession; an object.  When Nora  finally talks to him on equal terms, he said, “you talk like a child.” (p. 185) However, when Nora acts like an actual child and asks for his guidance, he accepts it happily, which I find incredibly hypocritical and uneasy to watch. When Nora leaves him at the end, I thought I would be happy because Torvald is left alone and got what he deserved, but instead, it was not satisfying and I ended up feeling bad for Torvald. “To part—to part from you! Nora, I can’t grasp the thought.” (p. 187) Although Torvald remains masculine and a “husband-like” image throughout the play, he is fragile in the sense that he is afraid of living without Nora, even though he has less to lose than her. However, even though I feel bad for him, I still can’t forgive him especially when he proposed “but then can’t we live here as brother and sister–?” (p. 187) I wonder why do some people think this is even possible? Even till the end of the play, Torvald still cannot understand why Nora decides to leave him and the children, which upsets me the most.

I didn’t like Nora as a character at first, and I didn’t pity her very much or treat her as a victim. I thought she placed herself in the situation, and I particularly didn’t like how she borrowed a loan without understanding exactly how to repay it. “These kinds of transactions, you see, are so extremely difficult to keep track of.” (p. 123) But she didn’t have any other options other than to urgently borrow money to save Torvald’s life. If I were Nora, I wouldn’t have done any better. I also think she is far from ready to raise three children, even with the help of maids and a nanny.

Helmer: Not–? Not happy?

Nora: No; just cheerful. And you’ve always been so kind to me. But our home has never been anything other than a play-house. I’ve been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Daddy’s doll-child. And the children, they have in turn been my dolls.” (p. 183)

It is not because of Nora’s “moral flaw” that makes her unqualified as a mother. It is because of how she has never fulfilled any duties to herself, or to live as a human being that makes her unable to bring up her children.

I felt very uncomfortable and confused as I read this play. But I conclude it is because of how I was able to relate to it, that I disliked it. However, I think all the characters in this play are equally as pitiful.

 

 

Personal Response to A Doll’s House

Throughout a large portion of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Nora leads a pleasant, mundane life. Filled with Torvald’s stern finger wagging (p. 113) and Nora’s pretty responses like, “Yes, yes, as you wish” (p. 111), the entire balance of their relationship is established. Nora never threatens Torvald’s “manly self-esteem” (p. 122), so long as he keeps providing her with a comfortable lifestyle and spending-money. Torvald calls Nora his “squirrel”, his “songbird”, his “spendthrift”, and rather than annoyance, she receives those possessive pet-names with affection and silliness. At the start of this play, I was filled with anticipation for Nora’s anger to finally surface. However, at every moment where I felt my own rage toward Torvald, she seems perfectly fine with his patriarchal, paternal actions and words. Their marriage feels more playful than anything else—like a game between a father and his beloved little girl. Torvald indulges on Nora’s frivolity and childlike behaviours, whereas Nora indulges on Torvald’s earnings. It is only at her rather late breaking-point that Nora finally realizes this: the fact that as husband and wife, they have never once “exchanged a serious word about serious things” (p. 182).

Nora doesn’t experience a lengthy buildup to the culmination of this play. She doesn’t gather clues or data points supporting the toxicity of their relationship. She doesn’t consult a friend on her concerns. In fact, she doesn’t even have concerns needing to be addressed, other than the money she borrowed to save Torvald. She appears to lack perspective and intelligence, especially when talking to Kristine in Act I, yet we begin to see that perhaps that’s a product of the environment she has been raised and placed in,

Torvald: You talk like a child. You don’t understand the society you live in. 

Nora: No, I don’t. But I intend to look into it. I must find out who is right, society or me. (p. 185)

Within this dialogue, Torvald attempts to gaslight Nora—to convince her that she’s being a naive child. In return, Nora provides a sophisticated response, questioning the role we all play in society. Is it our jobs to uphold societal standards when they’re perpetuating harm? Is it our duty to combat these stereotypes and norms, in order to create change? If her surrounding society has been teaching her that she’s nothing more than a silly, frivolous, scatterbrained woman her whole life, why would she act any differently? Why would she try to prove them wrong, especially since her life isn’t even bad? She has been assimilated into a typical 19th century daughter and wife—into a doll. The pinnacle of this play doesn’t occur incrementally, it’s more of a flipped switch in Nora’s mind. When Torvald doesn’t defend her after discovering that she borrowed money, she has an important realization: Torvald is only a loving husband in the good moments, which is negated by his anger and distance in this particular bad moment. When she’s conforming to a subservient position as his ideal doll, he’s satisfied, but when she acts like an actual human being—strong, imperfect, and real—he shows hostility.

In several ways, our current society reflects the one presented in A Doll’s House. Femininity is often associated with sensitivity, sweetness, modesty, and fragility, whereas masculinity is associated with strength, independence, assertiveness, and bravery. These stereotypical gender roles continuously put stress on both men and women, not to mention how non inclusive they are to those who are nonbinary. When we assign these qualities and establish this social construct, we are creating a sense of invalidity for many. In this play, Nora tells Kristine about the business she has been conducting, and says, “It was almost as though I was a man” (p. 123). For doing something as unrelated to gender as business ought to be, she feels detached from womanhood. As we witness through Nora, gender norms give people a false impression of who they can and cannot be. They build boundaries, enforce segregation. Then, when people combat these stereotypes, they are often met with problematic, even dangerous responses. Perhaps, breaking down these boundaries is exactly what we need to thrive as a society. Everyone should have the right to emulate and challenge these norms, without being forced to question their own identities (though they certainly can if they want to!). So much has changed between our society and Ibsen’s one, hopefully indicating that this progression will come, as well.

A Doll’s House: Personal Response

For me, “A Doll’s House,” by Henrik Ibsen, raised many questions about what it takes to work a marriage and why development is essential for every individual. The play focuses on patriarchal male figures and the oppression of women in the 1800s. It expresses how women weren’t capable of much other than housekeeping, mentioning their “duty” was to take care of their family before themselves.

My opinions and feelings towards the characters fluctuate throughout the play. At first, I was aware of Nora being a somewhat brave character, someone who took a risk to save her husband’s life, but as the play developed, she was portrayed as this naive and childish character. “Come here. Now I will show you that I too have something to be proud and glad of. It was I who saved Torvald’s life.” (A1. P13). It’s immature of Nora to prove herself to anyone or explain she has been through difficult times by telling them her most confidential secret. I think she might so desperately want to prove herself because she has been looked down upon for a long time. Reading through Nora’s character in the play, I realized that some of the things she says or does are infuriating. “You must be a very poor lawyer, Mr. Krogstad.” (A1. P26). She is not witty, confident in herself, or convincible; I say this because she often sobs or stutters as she presents her argument. My detestation towards Nora grew tremendously in Act 2; she overreacted to the most invaluable circumstances and became more stubborn as the play continued. “…but you could just as well dismiss some other clerk instead of Krogstad.” (A2. P36). It’s surprising that Nora only cares about herself and is ready to sacrifice anyone for the sake of her stability. Coming towards the end of Act 3, it was startling to find myself quite proud of Nora as she made a brave decision to leave Torvald. I completely agree with her because it is important to discover yourself before helping others, she finally stepped up for herself, and I am delighted with her conclusion. 

Opposite to Nora’s naive character is Torvald, an arrogant and oppressive male who cares about nothing but his reputation and career. He constantly referred to Nora as a helpless little girl, his dearest treasure (A3. P60), that shouldn’t do anything but look after the family.  “Miserable creature — what have you done?”(A3. P65). I think he tremendously overreacted when he became aware of Nora’s deeds; she was right to do what she did as she had good intentions. “a hypocrite, a liar– worse, worse — a criminal!” (A3. P66). Torvald cursed at her repeatedly but just a few minutes later had a change of heart and pretended to be the sweetest husband ever. I think he is helpless without Nora.

Nora and Torvald did not have a successful marriage as neither of them understood each other. People need to realize that women have passions too, everyone has a different way of living life, and some might choose to take other paths instead of being housewives. In the end, “A Doll’s House” is one of my most disliked plays; while reading it, I felt as if I were analyzing and solving a family dispute and playing the role of a therapist.

WDolan “Doll’s house” Personal Reponse Act 3

I enjoyed ‘A Doll’s House’ by Henrik Ibsen immensely. I think the title of the play was fitting as Torvald continuously manipulated Nora like a doll and treated her as a child or non-human inferior creature.

I liked Nora, as I thought she represented the qualities of strong women. I sympathized for her since she has been treated as Torvald’s possession throughout the entire story. He calls her ‘treasure’, ‘skylark’, ‘sweet tooth’, and so on. However, I was intrigued by how she was so blunt about leaving her children. I did not know whether to think of her as an irresponsible mother, or someone who has been through enough pain and deserved to live a free life. I do not like Helmer because he is manipulative and he suggests throughout the play that Nora is stupid and that he loves her for her attractive appearance.

I thought the ending was disappointing because it was so abrupt, and Nora willingly left her children behind. However, Nora’s desperation and confrontation with Torvald Helmer felt realistic because she knew he would not want her to leave. One question Act III raised for me was: ‘In what sense does Helmer’s attitude reflect society in the past and present?’ 

In conclusion,  I gained more perspective on the social structure and expected behavior from women within that time frame. Women seemed taken advantaged of for their appearance rather being respected for their qualities.

How artists increase impact by contrasting form with content

Artists of all sorts contrast form and content to increase the impact of their work on the audience. Here are some examples.

Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time:

They shot the six cabinet ministers at half-past six in the morning against the wall of a hospital. There were pools of water in the courtyard. There were wet dead leaves on the paving of the courtyard. It rained hard. All the shutters of the hospital were nailed shut. One of the ministers was sick with typhoid. Two soldiers carried him down stairs and out into the rain. They tried to hold him up against the wall but he sat down in a puddle of water. The other five stood very quietly against the wall. Finally the officer told the soldiers it was no good trying to make him stand up. When they fired the first volley he was sitting down in the water with his head on his knees.

Hemingway’s low-key, matter-of-fact description increases the horror of what he describes.

John Keats, “In drear-nighted December”: Here Keats uses a sing-songy rhythm that might be found in a nursery rhyme, but the content of the poem is tragic.

I
In drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree,
Thy Branches ne’er remember
Their green felicity:
The north cannot undo them,
With a sleety whistle through them;
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.

II
In drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy Brook,
Thy bubblings ne’er remember
Apollo’s summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
About the frozen time.

III
Ah! would ’twere so with many
A gentle girl and boy!
But were there ever any 
Writh’d not of passéd joy?
The feel of not to feel it,
When there is none to heal it,
Nor numbéd sense to steel it,
Was never said in rhyme.

Musicians can do similar things. Here is Stevie Wonder using a musical form from an 18th century European court—chamber music—to sing about the horrors of life in an urban ghetto in the 20th century:

And here is the Kronos Quartet using the instruments of chamber music to play Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.” (If you don’t know Hendrix’s original version, you should find it on YouTube before you listen to the Kronos Quartet’s version.)

So, what does all of this have to do with Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House? Plenty! Ibsen uses the comfortable, familiar form of a “well-made play,” a form that was immensely popular in the 19th century, just as TV situation comedies were immensely popular in the second half of the 20th century. Put very simply, the form involves typical, middle-class people; plot complications; and then a clever twist that puts everything right at the end. The characters were usually stereotypes.

Ibsen takes this form and puts into it radical, challenging ideas about women, marriage, money, sex, social hypocrisy, etc. A Doll’s House caused widespread outrage when it first appeared in the 1870s, and a good deal of that impact comes from Ibsen’s clever use of this old artist’s trick: using a form that leads the audience to expect one sort of thing, and then giving them something very different.

Doll house

A key question brought to light in this play is “Do the characters in relationships/marriages actually love each other?” Throughout the play we see that Torvald and Nora seem to be in a happy relationship, but through the play we see that Torvald sees Nora as his toy, or as the title says, a doll. He does not love her, but he rather sees her as a trophy, and instead of loving her, he admires her, saying things about her for example she’s something “worth looking at”. Nora’s idea of a marriage is that whoever has the power in the relationship, has control over the marriage, which Torvald ultimately has, as he is the one with the money.  Nora ends up leaving her husband, due to her finally coming to the realization that she is being utterly controlled by Torvald, similar to the situation with her father, who treated her like his doll. She wants to become educated, and vows to become independent in her own actions. She married Torvald not for the sake of love, but for other reasons, like security and financial purposes. A good example of a true relationship is the one between Mrs. Linde and Krogstad. These two are not together for their own needs and wants, but for each other. They depend on each other and truly care for each other, rather than using each other to each’s benefit.