Henrik Isben's A Doll's House

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Torvald Holmer's refusal to borrow money displays the character of a proud and controlling man. Helmer provided the financial support for his family through hard work, not depending on others for money. When Torvald's law practice did not provide financially, he sought a job at the bank. After Helmer received a promotion at the bank, Nora felt they could now afford to be extravagant for Christmas. Nora says, "This is the first Christmas that we have not needed to economize." Torvald announces that his promotion is not until ". . . after the New Year," so Nora blurts out ". . . we can borrow till then." Helmer interprets Nora's spending of money as wasteful and foolish, telling her "That is like a woman! ...There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and debt." Obviously Torvald earns and manages the money in the house, and he attributes Nora's lack of understanding of these matters to her gender. Torvald views a woman's place to beautify the home through proper management of domestic life, behavior, and appearance. Helmer demeans Nora about spending in calling her "sweet little spendthrift, but she sure uses up a deal of money . . . " After accusing Nora of being irresponsible with money, Torvald rejoices at her dependence on him stating, ". . . Is my little squirrel out of temper? ...what do you think I have here?" Nora exclaims, "Money!" Torvald finds merriment in watching her happy reaction to him giving her money, and Nora saying, ". . . Thank you, thank you, . . . " This illustrates the helplessness of Nora and her dependence on Helmer, causing him to feel in control.
8. Nora's secret crime confessed to Christine Linde, a childhood friend, had been to save her deathly ill husband's life by borrowing money. She borrowed the money from Krogstad, without getting her husband's permission. As Nora and Christine palaver about their lives, Nora explains the financial hardships they had. "...Torvald left his office . . . There was no prospect of promotion . . . during the first year he overworked himself dreadfully . . . but he could not stand it, and fell dreadfully ill, and the doctors said it was necessary for him to go south." Since he was in danger of dying, Nora's explanation was that the doctors urged them to live in the South for a year; yet they thought Helmer should not know how ill he really was.

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