The women through the title are portrayed as dolls, inanimate objects bereft of free will, dignity, or intelligence. Nora is the story's best example when describing her relationship with her father, "He used to call me his doll-child, and he played with me the way I played with my dolls," and "he told me all his opinions, so I had the same ones too." This was how she lived her entire life in relation to men. She did what she was told, and she acted in the manner that was expected. She was a belonging not a person.
Nora has always had anything she’s ever wanted. “ No, only lighthearted. And you’ve always been so kind to me. But our home’s been nothing but a playpen. I’ve been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa’s doll-child.
This shows just how controlling he really is. Nora just plays along, keeping secrets from Torvald in order to please him at any expense. This was a very common situation during the era whom this play was produced. Nora is smart and capable of a lot more but she lets herself be held back in order to be the perfect wife for Torvald. The title "A Doll House" would not fit the play because this states that everyone in the house is a doll.
“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale, it’s a choice”(Weaver) and in A Doll 's House by Henrik Ibsen you clearly see just how fast Nora 's charmed life comes crashing to the ground when she decides to wake up to a reality call. Ibsen 's play centers around an era where women asserting themselves was frowned upon by societal conventions that chained each person into a roll they were to play. He showed a time where women were to meant to be the perfect housewife, governing the children and take care of their husbands all the while being a dainty decoration uncorrupted by the spoils of society. Gender roles were heavily set between men and women yet Ibsen leaves subtle hints throughout the play of highly unpopular and unconventional views
The impression of the home appears perfect, like a doll’s house. Passion: Nora’s passion is to be a real human and not be unreal towards herself, her family, or her husband. She wants to be accepted and human like the rest of the world, and she tries to figure a way to make this possible. “When (Nora) lived with Papa, he used to tell me everything, so that I never had any opinions but his. And if I did have any of my own, I kept them quiet, because he wouldn’t have like them.” Since childhood Nora has not been able to express her own feelings.
Through the events of the play, Nora becomes increasingly aware of the confines in which Torvald has placed her. He has made her a doll in her own house, one that is expected to keep happy and busy as a songbird, who acts and does as he deems proper. As a result of this, she is often pointed out to be very simple by the other characters. Her friend Christina calls her “a mere child,” showing how naïve she appears to be to the hardships in life. To prove to her friend that she really has achieved something on her own to be proud of, Nora tells Christina of her secret borrowing of money for the trip to Italy that saved Torvald’s life.
While the Helmer household may have the appearance of being sociably acceptable, the marriage of Torvald and Nora was falling apart because of the lack of identity, love, and communication. Nora Helmer was a delicate character and she relied on Torvald for her identity. This dependence that she had kept her from having her own personality. Yet when it is discovered that Nora only plays the part of the good typical housewife who stays at home to please her husband, it is then understandable that she is living not for herself but to please others. From early childhood Nora has always held the opinions of either her father or Torvald, hoping to please them.
Nora has lived the life she thought made her happy never realizing the role she played not as a wife but as a doll. Throughout Nora’s entire life she has always played the role of the doll first with her dad then onto Torvald. Nora has noticed the way people treat her but never acknowledged it, “You’re just like everyone else. Nobody thinks I’m capable of doing anything really serious” (I.16.26-27). Nora is not a doll but she is a person who thinks for her own.
When she was younger she was raised by Nanny, who is portrayed as someone who is loving and cares for Janie very much and would do anything to make sure that Janie is protected. Altough Nanny is portrayed as a “feminist male-basher”. She never got married she lived by herself with Janie, Nanny loves materialized things such as land, status, and money. This is why Nanny marries Janie off to an older man (Logan Kellacks) to protect her. But all Janie wants to do is go on adventures, be free have dreams, be able to do things and live her life the way she wants to not the way Nanny wants or even a husband wants.
As portrayed in the novel, Ethan Frome’s wife Zeena was constantly seeking cures for her illness. Like Teddy, Zeena was isolated from society and kept to herself. Ethan’s wife was devoted to high society because she came from an aristocratic home. Therefore, Zeena never supported Ethan’s interest in becoming an engineer. Wharton’s mother was alike to Zeena when it came to how her life was lived.