Feminist Protagonists in The Awakening and A Doll's House Essay

Feminist Protagonists in The Awakening and A Doll's House Essay

Length: 756 words (2.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Feminist Protagonists in The Awakening and A Doll's House

 
The idea of women's liberation is a common theme in both Kate Chopin's The Awakening and Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. In her analysis of Feminism in Europe Katharine M. Rogers writes, " Thinking of Nora's painful disillusionment, her parting from her children, and the uncertainties of her future independent career, Ibsen called his play 'the tragedy of modern times'" (82). The main characters in each work, Nora Helmer, in A Doll House, and Edna Pontellier, in The Awakening, portray feminist ideas.

Neither Ibsen nor Chopin intended to write for the women's right's movement, but both works are classics of a woman's liberation. Ibsen is quoted as saying "that he never 'consciously worked for the women's right movement'" (82). It has also been shown that "Chopin did not intend to write a feminist tract" (Martin 252). Even though neither work was meant to be used as a feminist advocacy document, the works are excellent examples of the fact that many people were attuned to the plight of women.

Nora and Edna both intend to pursue their own careers. At the time these works were written, women did not normally have their own careers. Nora enjoys the copying work she secretly does at night to earn back money for her loan. Working makes her feel less like the shallow, twittering female people think she is and more like an independent man. After Nora leaves Torvald, she wants to live on her own and support herself. Edna wants to become an artist. She tries to paint seriously every day after her return from Grand Isle. Even though Mr. Pontellier thinks her paintings are a silly hobby, Edna sells several paintings and hopes to sell more.

Nora and Edna are both i...


... middle of paper ...


...the works portray feminist ideas such as pursuit of careers, independence from families, and close male friends. Ibsen and Chopin were ahead of their time by writing works focusing on a topic that is still controversial a century later.

 

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym et al. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1985.

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll House (1879). Trans. Rolf Fjelde. Rpt. in Michael Meyer, ed. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 5th edition.

Boston & New York: Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Martin, Wendy, ed. "Introduction." New Essays on The (Awakening. New York, NY: Cambridge UP, 1988.

Rogers, Katharine M. Feminism in Europe. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1982.

Templeton, Joan. "Is A Doll House a Feminist Text?" (1989). Rpt. In Meyer.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Parallels between A Doll’s House and The Awakening Essay

- ... Nora is treated like a child by Torvald, but she is accustomed to it and believes he loves her dearly. However, an important component of a successful and true marriage is trust, which is lacking in the Helmers’ marriage. Nora keeps a secret from Torvald while he is reluctant to trust her with money, let alone his reputation (Ibsen 2, 3, 13). When Torvald discovers that Nora has kept a secret from him, he is furious and takes away her right to raise the children without a second thought (Ibsen 83)....   [tags: Nora Helmer, Edna Pontellier]

Better Essays
903 words (2.6 pages)

Comparison: Antigone, by Sophocles and A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen Essay example

- In my mind, Sonny Carroll’s poem perfectly represents what an empowered woman should be; firm, determined and able to stand on her own feet. The characters of Nora and Antigone, from Henrik Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ and Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’ respectively, completely fit my description of ‘the empowered woman’. As inspiring figures, they left me wondering how they maintained their identities even in their patriarchal societies. What touched my heart the most is the way they fight for what they feel is moral and just instead of following what society dictates....   [tags: Female Empowerment, Protagonists]

Better Essays
1027 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Female Companions in The Awakening and A Doll's House

- Importance of Female Companions in The Awakening and A Doll's House       Female companions are very important to the development of the main characters in Kate Chopin's The Awakening and in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll House. Mademoiselle Reisz and Madame Ratignolle, in The Awakening, and Kristine Linde, in A Doll House, help Edna Pontellier and Nora Helmer discover their inner selves.   Mademoiselle Reisz, Madame Ratignolle, and Kristine Linde all act as role models for the protagonists. Edna deeply admires Mademoiselle Reisz's piano playing....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Better Essays
639 words (1.8 pages)

A Doll’s House Essay

- As a child progresses through the various stages of life, he or she may crawl across the knots of knitted carpet, gallop around the plastic structures of a schoolyard and weave amongst a mass of people, each one traveling a different route to arrive at destinations poles apart, but unless a sense of worth, instilled by a parent’s assurance, overflows from the mouth of this developing being, the journey to find oneself amid the throng of individuals will prove an arduous and extensive one—possibly spanning one’s lifetime....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Kate Chopin]

Better Essays
1610 words (4.6 pages)

Comparing Edna of Kate Chopin's The Awakening and Nora of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House

- Comparing Edna of Kate Chopin's The Awakening and Nora of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House Kate Chopin's work, The Awakening, and Henrik Ibsen's play, A Doll's House, were written at a time when men dominated women in every aspect of life.  Edna Pontellier, the protagonist in The Awakening, and Nora, the protagonist in A Doll's House, are trapped in a world dominated by men.  The assumed superiority of their husbands traps them in their households.  Edna and Nora share many similarities, yet differ from each other in many ways.  Two main similarities of Edna and Nora are that they both have an awakening and are like caged birds without freedom; one main difference is that Edna liv...   [tags: Ibsen Chopin Compare Contrast Essays]

Better Essays
1036 words (3 pages)

A Doll's House Essay

- A Doll's House The author, Henrik Ibsen, who wrote other social commentary plays (like Ghosts, Enemy Of The People, and Pillars Of Society), made a departure in this plays ending by having the protagonist run away rather than staying to set an example and continuing to struggle for the better along side others. This scenario creates a sad, troubling and for Nora unjustified ending as she, the protagonist in A Doll's House, leaves Torvold, her husband. She destroys any hope that married couples can reconcile differences and learn to change and grow with one another....   [tags: A Doll's House Essays]

Free Essays
2389 words (6.8 pages)

Essay on The Awakening and A Doll's House

- Comparison of The Awakening and A Doll's House       The Awakening, a novel by Kate Chopin, and A Doll's House, a play by Henrik Ibsen, are two works of literature that can be readily compared. Both works take place in the same time period, around the late 1800s. Both works feature a woman protagonist who is seeking a better understanding of herself. Both Edna and Nora, the main characters, display traits of feminism. Both Edna and Nora have an awakening in which she realizes that she has not been living up to her full potential....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Better Essays
891 words (2.5 pages)

The Awakening of Nora in Ibsen's A Doll's House Essay

- The Awakening of Nora in Ibsen's A Doll's House    The status of women in the 1800's, when A Doll's House was written, was that of a second-class citizen.  Women did not have the right to vote, own property, or make legal transactions.  The role of women was restricted to that of a housewife.          In A Doll's House, Ibsen does a wonderful job of presenting the character of Nora as person who goes though an awakening about her life.  In the beginning, she concerns herself only with being a perfect wife and mother according to the social norms of the time.  Later, she realizes that she cannot continue just being her husband's shadow.  Eventually, she decides that she has duties...   [tags: Dolls House essays Ibsen Feminism Papers]

Better Essays
1046 words (3 pages)

Henrik Isben's A Doll's House Essay

- After she reveals the "dastardly deed" to her husband, he becomes understandably agitated; in his frustration he shares the outside world with her, the ignorance of the serious business world, and destroys her innocence and self-esteem. This disillusion marks the final destructive blow to her doll's house. Their ideal home including their marriage and parenting has been a fabrication for the sake of society. Nora's decision to leave this false life behind and discover for herself what is real is directly symbolic of woman's ultimate realization....   [tags: A Doll's House Essays]

Better Essays
1182 words (3.4 pages)

Henrik Isben's A Doll's House Essay

- Independence Most of us live a life where we do what we want and when we want without anyone telling us how to live our lives. This wasn’t the case in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, where he illustrates to us how one woman lives a life through her father and husband. Throughout the play we see how a once childish like woman gains her independence and a life of her own. Ibsen shows us a very realistic play that demonstrates how on the outside Nora and Torvald seem to have it all. While in reality their life together is simply empty until Nora stands up for herself and starts to build her own life....   [tags: A Doll's House Essays]

Better Essays
1006 words (2.9 pages)