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The Growth of Nora in A Doll's House

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The Growth of Nora in A Doll's House

 

In the play " A Doll's House", written by Henrik Ibsen, Nora, the main character of the play, decides to abandon her husband, her home and her children in order to find herself. She finally realizes she has to leave when confronted with a problem in her relationship with her husband, who keeps treating her like a doll, reflecting the childish treatment she always received from her father before. She finds the strength to leave with her childhood friend Kristine, who has led a hard life, and has the wisdom to guide and support her. Nora leaves the role of the doll child and doll wife she played her whole life, and becomes an independent self-thinking adult, when she realizes that the world is different than she always thought it was, and that she herself is not who she thinks she is.

 

           Nora lives in a dream world, a child fantasy, where everything is perfect, and everything makes sense. She thinks that the world would never condemn a woman who tries to save her husband's life or protect a dying father. When confronted by Krogstad, who tells her it is against the law to sign someone else's signature, she responds: " This I refuse to believe. A daughter hasn't a right to protect her dying father from anxiety and care? A wife hasn't a right to save her husband's life? I don't know much about laws, but I'm sure that somewhere in the books these things are allowed." Nora simply does not understand the ways of the world, and the final realization that she is in real danger of risking hers and her husband's reputation, and worse, makes her snap out of the childish dream she had been living.

 

           Kristine, Nora's childhood friend, is the wisdom and support Nora needs to grow up. Kristine is a woman who has been in the real world, unlike other wives of Torvald's friends. At the same time, Kristine is a friend from Nora's childhood, a person who she can tell her problems to and relate to in some way. Also, unlike everyone else who surrounds Nora, Kristine tells her the truth, she does not pamper her. With Kristine, Nora can be herself, and speak her true feelings, which she cannot do with anybody else, including her husband. She confides in her " What if Torvald heard? He mustn't, for anything in the world. Nobody must know Kristine, no one but you". Their open friendship is one of the motives that influences Nora be honest with Torvald. She feels liberated, open minded, and comfortable to be able to express herself freely to Torvalt.

 

           Torvald, being so busy with his life and his big ego, is never concerned about Nora's thoughts and feelings upon any subject at all. He assumes, like most men at the time, and still some today, that all Nora needs is protection and amusement, just like children that need to be sheltered from all harm, and taught how to behave properly. He orders her around throughout the whole play, and fancies showing her off to his friends, as a proud father would do so. Nora, when aware of the situation, realizes there is nothing else to do but to make him see her as a woman and an adult. When she tells him of the whole story, she is shocked to see his reaction. Then she realizes that while so busy doing tricks for him in order to make him happy, and always agreeing with him, behaving as she did with her father, she never really got to know the real Torvald. She tells him that: " I'm saying that we've never sat down seriously together and tried to get to the bottom of things". She never understood the real man; the stranger behind the husband and protector, as he never got to really know her, the woman behind the doll wife, the one he pampered and protected during the whole marriage. Her final discovery, that she had been living with a man who she has never known, and that she does not know herself at all, is the main motive for leaving her house.

 

            Knowing that only she can make the changes she needs in order to grow, Nora walks out of the house to find and educate herself. With the realization that her marriage had been a lie, the world is different outside, and that there are people who will help her get through life, Nora decides to become her own person. As many women do today, Nora decides it is time to meet the world and to think for herself, with no other person to please but herself. To find oneself is the most important task in a person's life, and sooner or later, every woman comes to this realization. As time goes by, there is always hope the realization comes sooner than later.

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