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This ‘Doll House’ is Not My Home

Book Review Essay

By Robyn WelbornePublished 5 years ago 3 min read

Nora Helmer lives in the time period where women had no rights in the world. For a while, that concept that women are powerless is seen in the beginning of Henrik Ibsen’s play “A Doll House”, until Nora stamps her mark as a “human being just like Torvald” (Ibsen, 840) with the same rights as anybody else. The play opens up with Nora being stuck between her husband’s favors and a blackmailing conspiracy. In the beginning of the play, Ibsen portrays Nora as this submissive, gold-digging wife who is always after Torvald Helmer’s, her husband, money. As the action moves more towards the climax of the play, antagonist Nils Krogstad visits Nora about her payment issues. At the end, during the resolution of the play when the truth comes out, Nora finally gets her courage to stand up and speak her mind against Torvald. A desperate Nora searches for a way out to try and justify her previous criminal actions against her late father; therefore, putting her family name in jeopardy.

The story starts off with Nora and Torvald preparing for Christmas. Every command or demeaning phrase that Torvald says, Nora blindly obeys it. Torvald makes haste to convincing the audience that he claims Nora as his possession by showing the audience how she is only worth as much money as he gives her. Nora seems to not mind being Torvald’s “little squirrel” (786), just as long as she can extract some sort of money out of him in the end. As the rising action progresses closer to the climax, a frightened Nora struggles to squeeze her future out of the grasps of Krogstad.

Krogstad sends off the letter exposing Nora of forgery as the climax unfolds. Nora panics as she recruits her friend Kristine to try to get Krogstad to retrieve the letter back. When Torvald reads the letter, he throws this awful fit and lashes out on Nora. As the argument progresses, Nora realizes how self-centered Torvald is because he did not care about anything else, except for his own name’s sake. For the first time, Nora stands up for herself, and forces Torvald to have a serious conversation with her. In their eight years, Nora finally tells Torvald how she feels about their marriage.

Nearing the resolution of the play, all of Nora’s feelings come out. She explains to Torvald the real reason as to why she forged the signature on Krogstad’s contract. Also, Nora informs Torvald about her unhappiness within their marriage, and how she wants to leave him. Nora’s mind is made up as she makes her own free-will decision by telling Torvald that she is going back to her hometown, where she can pick up the pieces to her life. A shattered Torvald tries to take the situation lightly as he pleads with Nora to stay with him for the children’s’ sake. Here is where the play takes a feminist twist, because Nora gathers the strength to not let her husband control her life anymore.

In conclusion, Nora Helmer went from being a weak and submissive wife, to a woman who found the courage to stand on her own two feet. Torvald thinks that he can buy Nora’s love with his money, which worked for eight years. After the conflict of being exposed by Krogstad, Nora decides to start thinking for herself to save her reputation. When she learns that Torvald cares only about his self and reputation, without a second thought, Nora walks out on him to begin a new life back home. Nora gives the perfect example of showing how women can be strong enough to stand alone in the world without always needing a man to cosign every action in her life.

Works Cited

Ibsen, Henrik. “A Doll House.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Kelly J Mays. Portable 11th ed. New York: Norton, 2014. 786, 840. Print.

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About the Creator

Robyn Welborne

I am an aspiring creative writer who is currently working for my double Associate’s Degree in English. My writing has no limits and no filter. Anything and everything from all genres; if I think about it, then I will write it down. Enjoy!

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