Misguided Messages in The Awakening and A Doll's House

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Misguided Messages in The Awakening and A Doll's House Just because a novel is considered a classic doesn't mean the Messages it conveys to its readers are correct. Even though both The Awakening by Kate Chopin and A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen are great literary works, some of the ideas embodied in them aren't appropriate. Both works suggest that it is common for husbands to be condescending to their wives; that if a person has enough money, they can have someone else raise their children for them; and that if a marriage gets hard, the couple should just give up on each other. Taking the stories for their literary qualities alone, they are both quite good. Both novels are very well written. Chopin and Ibsen developed their characters well, used excellent imagery, and told interesting stories. Both shared their strong convictions even though they knew their ideas weren't popular. The strong beliefs that are shared in these stories are part of what makes them classics. However, some of the ideas that are portrayed in these works aren't ideas readers should assume to be true or good. The first of these is the theory that husbands will most likely treat their wives as inferiors after they are married. In A Doll's House, Torvald is blatantly condescending to Nora. He calls her his ³little squirrel² or ³little skylark² and requires her to ³do tricks² to please him. In addition, he treats her like a child, a ³feather head² who can't understand anything important. In The Awakening, Leonce is more subtle in his mistreatment of his wife. He tries to control Edna by pushing his point until she does what he wants. He also tries to make her feel bad about herself. For example, he tells her she isn't a good mother to their sons. Although this type of behavior is condemned in both of these stories, just characterizing this behavior as normal sends a bad message. If young men are repeatedly told that this is how adult males act, they will inevitably feel that they should act this way when they are married. The second bad idea conveyed by these stories is that if a person can afford to, they should have someone else raise their children for them. In A Doll's House, Nora and Torvald have a nanny who takes care of their children for them. This is the same nanny who Nora's parents had paid to raise her. Also, in The Awakening, Leonce and Edna not only have a person who takes care of their children for them; but, when Edna moves to the

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