A Doll’s House and Fathers and Sons Essay

A Doll’s House and Fathers and Sons Essay

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Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons reflect two unique societal struggles. While both texts deal with a main character attempting to overcome society’s resistance to progress, they delineate from each other in the characters’ relative successes as well as divergent societal implications. The formal cause of these differences is ultimately societal mores as well as contrasting aims: Ibsen deals with feminism, whereas Turgenev discusses nihilism. However, both novels were written in the 19th century and dealt with local issues, where the implications beyond their respective societies were disregarded. Hence, these two texts both play an important role in their respective societies. However, these two texts are harbingers for two contrasting revolutions, where A Doll’s House and Fathers and Sons feature enlightened and darkened protagonists respectively. While both Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons and Ibsen’s A Doll’s House challenge traditional society’s thoughts and beliefs, the diction, character arcs, author’s tone and exposition reflect contrasting opinions on the successes of the two revolutionary attempts.
Both Ibsen’s and Turgenev’s texts vary in the use and role of foreign languages. While Pavel Petrovich, a main character in Fathers and Sons, is a xenophile, the experiences of Nora Torvald in A Doll’s House are very limited. Pavel’s love of foreign cultures is portrayed through his use of French words, whereas Nora lacks worldly understanding and thusly lives in the proverbial doll’s house. Pavel describes liberalism as ‘très distingué’ and says ‘bon soir’ when he goes to bed, whereas Nora emphasises the need “to reach any [some] understanding of herself and the things around her, she must learn to stand...


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...e relatable to the popular audience. The two main characters – Bazarov and Nora – progress society to very different degrees. This is reflected by the absence of character development in Nikolai and Pavel as well as the radical changes in Nora’s persona. Nora’s power over Helmer contrasts how Russian society prevails over Bazarov. While Bazarov becomes sick and infirm, Nora asserts her independence over her familial duties. Ultimately, the degree of resolution of the two problems – female subordination and serfs’ indolence – varies between the two texts. While Arkady fails to address the serfs’ dissatisfaction, Nora emerges out of her doll’s house with an inquisitive mind. Therefore, Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons and Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House use the four aforementioned elements to contrast the relative successes and implications of the attempted revolutions.

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