Therefore, in this essay, I will compare two similar but contrast stories; A Doll's House and Trifles, focusing on how they describe the problems in marriage related to women as victims of suppressed right. In A Doll’s House, Ibsen portrays his lead character, Nora, who is a housewife in the Helmer’s family. She has undergone a transformation throughout the play that she reacts differently to her husband. Her husband, Torvald, is an example of men who are only interested in their appearance and the amount of control they have over a person. In particular, he has a very clear and narrow definition of a woman's role.
The main characters Nora and Torvald pretend to be someone who there are not to please others around them. In the early 19th century society rules where a woman was suppose to be a trophy wife and please a man in any way he asked and the man works and provides for his family and if you disobeyed the society rules you were inhuman like since society was created by humans. Sick and tired of living by society rules Nora decides to make her own rules and leave her husband despite how society would view her. While reading A Doll House, I realized that Nora was treated as a child/doll mostly by her husband Torvald. Throughout the play he would treat her as he was her father rather than her husband.
Through characters such as Nils Krogstad and Torvald Helmer, one sees how those living in this society worried primarily over their social standing and reputation, while through the character of Mrs. Lindie the reader sees how even women fell into the trap of behaving as “dolls”: doing everything that is expected of them while remaining obedient. Though some of these characters may seem cruel, they have a huge impact on Nora’s character and help push her towards the realization that she is not living as she wants to live. Brunnemer says, “There is an evolutionary process whereby the mini-Nora of the opening scenes becomes the super-Nora of the close” (1). In the beginning of the play, Nora is portrayed as an obedient wife who would never stray from her husband’s wishes, and subsequently society’s expectations. By the end of the play, we see her blossom into an individual who wishes to make her own decisions and follow her own path.
She has brought toys for her three children. Her children, Ivar, Emmy and Bob acts as her dolls in the play. She plays with them and dresses them up but eventually pushes them aside in order to save them from herself which can be seen when Nora says "Corrupt my children!– poison my home!" (Ibsen 165). Nora as a stereotypical mother is a strong character for she puts others before herself.
Instead, she was “put up on a shelf, like a doll”, by her own father. Nora was treated as a special child. Torvald tells Nora many times, she has inherited her negative traits from her father, as if he is justifying why he calls he names and treats her as a doll ,and sometimes a child too. The male characters in “A Doll’s House” play the typical roles of their gender that society upholds them too. The way in which Torvald speaks to Nora, calling her his “little squirrel”, or his “skylark”, and nonchalantly telling her she spends too much of his money, is based on his expectations of her being responsible.
Through the eyes of society in the late 1800s, women were seen only as incompetent pretty little nothings. Keeping an eyeful watch on the house, starting their pre-destined act of motherhood, and becoming followers on the narrow path behind their husbands were the duties of a woman. In Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, he criticizes the sexist ways women were exploited in 1879, during a time known as The Victorian Era. Nora’s character, in A Doll’s House, represents the treatment that every woman was subjected to during The Victorian Era. As pure little play dolls for their husbands, women were treated in extremely childish ways.
Women were to be a representation of love, purity and family; abandoning this stereotype would be seen as churlish living and a depredation of family status. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Henry Isben’s play A Doll's House depict women in the Victorian Era who were very much menial to their husbands. Nora Helmer, the protagonist in A Doll’s House and the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” both prove that living in complete inferiority to others is unhealthy as one must live for them self. However, attempts to obtain such desired freedom during the Victorian Era only end in complications. The central characters in both “The Yellow Wallpaper” and A Doll’s House are fully aware of their niche in society.
The time before modernism, women were looked upon as people that do not make decisions about how they live their lives. The men saw women as a doll and not a person capable of talking for themselves or what they thought. In the novels in the twentieth century works, people would state that the women had no control and were being controlled by men. The cleaned the house, pleasured their men and took care of kids. A Doll’s house is a great example to show that modernism has happened.
In general, girls are taught to aspire to be a housewife, through their toys and play. Once a woman becomes a housewife she is viewed as submissive to her husband and denies her vocation. Society is structured to keep women oppressed and these four journals are the evidence throughout women’s history. In the journal on Gloria Steinem’s piece “What It Would Be Like If Women Win,” girls are taught gender roles through the act of play. The idea of young girls playing with toys that imitate domestic chores perpetuates benevolent sexism.
Crystie R. Kampman Professor Battle English Composition 112 20 July 2016 The Oppressed Women of Trifles and The Doll House The dramas Trifles by Susan Glaspell and The Doll House by Henrik Ibsen were written in the late 19th to early 20th Century; a genre representative of socially constructed norms associated to gender roles. During this era economic, political, cultural and social rights encompass male dominance. Female oppression was commonplace; society based a woman’s worth on motherhood and marriage. In the Trifles the men patronize the women, ridiculing their concerns while the women characterize their activity in the house as relatively unimportant. The Doll House focuses on Nora who struggles to become a self-motivated women in a woman-denying man’s world, exemplified by the treatment she experiences from her father, society and husband.