As Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” opens, the first words spoken are by Nora and read as, “Hide the tree well, Helene. The children mustn’t get a glimpse of it till this evening, after it’s trimmed.” This is incredibly important because it reflects that Nora was hiding something from the people around her from the very beginning. In this instance, the children cannot see the tree until it is dressed, trimmed, and decorated, this parallels how Nora is with her children and husband. She cannot be seen as she truly is, both physically and emotionally, because she is something proper and beautiful that is meant to be admired at all times, she is nothing more than a decoration. This reveals of Nora’s character that she is constantly putting on a front for her family and the society that surrounds her thus displaying that she conforms to the gender norms of her society where women are merely accessories for men. Moreover, in the first act of the play, Nora has her façade successfully up and has the people around her fooled.
Later in Act 1, on page 1588, Helmer and Nora discuss his raise and the Christmas tree. When accusing Nora of eating macaroons, he says, “...Well, you keep your little Christmas secrets to yourself, Nora darling. I expect they’l...
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...s, which is portrayed through the destruction of the Christmas tree. Moreover, the tree is ignored from this point to the end of the story, which is builds on the representation of women’s place in society. This is particularly representative of women being good for nothing, but providing for their families. After the children are taken care of with their presents and the Christmas tree is no longer beautiful or relevant, neither is the women or Nora to their husband and children.
In conclusion, the author uses the symbol of the Christmas tree to provide satire at the gender roles of women during the time period this was written. This calls into question women’s roles beyond the family. Through this symbol, Ibsen asks readers to question and challenge their society to find worth in women, themselves, rather than women’s identity through their social class and family.
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