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

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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 lives in reality and Nora lives in a fantasy world.  Other similarities are: each protagonist seems happy about her marriage in the beginning, is controlled by her husband, and has a secret.  Despite all the similarities, the two protagonists differ in several ways: Edna does what she wants while Nora dreams about what she wants; Edna has a mind of her own while Nora seems to be a scattered brain wife; and Edna stops taking care of her children all together while Nora cares for the children on and off.

    An image of a green and yellow parrot in a cage occurs throughout The Awakening; the parrot represents how Edna Pontellier is trapped in her marriage to Leonce Pontellier.  During that time period women were expected to stay at home and perform household duties, take care of their husbands, and take care of their children; women were not supposed to be educated and did not hold a career.  Edna realizes she does not want to perform the expected duties of a woman because she is not happy just being a wife and mother.  In the beginning of ...


... middle of paper ...


...n reality.  Ibsen and Chopin both wrote stories that represent the oppression of women in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century; The Awakening and "A Doll's House' are realistic writings that show society's treatment of women.

Works Cited and Consulted:

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.

Durbach, Errol. A Doll's House: Ibsen's Myth of Transformation. Boston: Twayne, 1991.

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll's House.  Literature and Ourselves. 2nd Ed. Ed. by Gloria Henderson, Bill Day, and Sandra Waller.  New York: Longman, 1997

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

Templeton, Joan. "The Doll House Backlash: Criticism, Feminism, and Ibsen." PMLA (January 1989): 28-40.

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