An Analysis of a Woman’s Manhood in A Doll’s House

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In society, an ideal man is perceived as the bread winner who guides his family to victory or survival; his wife on the other hand stands by his side to see the family part. The qualities of a man consist of great character to the action he takes for his family to achieve greatness. On the other hand women’s qualities are ordinary gentile, caring, and meant to endure through everything to protect the ones they love. Although these two qualities pose a contradiction, this does not mean the traits of a man and a woman could not ever intertwine. Men are considered to be the dominate species until Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play A Doll’s House challenges the power that men think they are entitled to have over women. Throughout the novel the protagonist, Nora Helmer becomes the real man (in her marriage to Torvald Helmer) on her own road to life fulfillment as a woman; not as a wife or a mother with the use of eight master plots. The first of many master plots to start Nora’s task is wretched excess. Wretched excess pushes the limit of acceptable behavior to the extreme and forces the protagonist to deal with the consequences. In the late 1800’s women are forbidden to take out loans because they do not have the stability of a job to pay it back. Therefore only men are acceptable to take out loans. Nora knew her husband Torvald had too much pride to borrow money, so she forges her father’s signature to borrow money. The consequences she faces are deadly since “…society is a male society… with prosecutors who judge female actions from a male point of view” (Finney 316). However this is the first step Nora takes to becoming a man. She is taking action in order for her husband to heal for the sake of the family. The man is the one who is me... ... middle of paper ... ...ticleService=showArticle>. Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll's House. New York: Dover Publications, 1992. Print: 6, 10, and 12-16. Koht, Halvdan. Life of Ibsen. New York: B. Blom, 1971. Print: 311-23. McFarlane, James Walter. The Cambridge Companion to Ibsen. Cambridge [England: Cambridge UP, 1994. Print: 89-105 . Risman, Barbara J. "Gender & Society." Gender as a Social Structure: Theory Wrestling with Activism 18.4 (2004): 429-50. JSTOR. Sage Publications, Inc. Web. 25 Apr. 2010. . Whitson, Kathy J. Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2004. Print:11, 19, 21, 35, 62, 85-90, and 221.

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