Analysing Nora’s Comment to Mrs. Linde

Analysing Nora’s Comment to Mrs. Linde

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Analysing Nora’s Comment to Mrs. Linde


Nora’s comment to Mrs. Linde that Torvald doesn’t like to see sewing
in his home indicates that Torvald likes the idea and the appearance
of a beautiful, carefree wife who does not have to work but rather
serves as a showpiece. As Nora explains to Mrs. Linde, Torvald likes
his home to seem “happy and welcoming.” Mrs. Linde’s response that
Nora too is skilled at making a home look happy because she is “her
father’s daughter” suggests that Nora’s father regarded her in a way
similar to Torvald—as a means to giving a home its proper appearance.

Torvald’s opinion on his wife’s role in their home is his defining
character characteristics. His unrelenting treatment of Nora as a doll
indicates that he is unable to develop or grow. As Nora’s
understanding of the people and events around her develops, Torvald’s
remains stationary. He is the only character who continues to believe
in the charade, probably because he is the only main character in the
play that does not keep secrets or harbour any hidden complexity. Each
of the other characters—Nora, Mrs. Linde, Krogstad, Dr. Rank—has at
some point kept secrets, hidden a true love, or plotted for one reason
or another.

Nora’s use of Torvald’s pet names for her to win his cooperation is an
act of manipulation on her part. She knows that calling herself his
“little bird,” his “squirrel,” and his “skylark,” and thus conforming
to his desired standards will make him more willingly to give in to
her wishes. At first, Nora’s interaction with Dr. Rank is
correspondingly manipulative. When she flirts with him by showing her
stockings, it seems that she hopes to lure Dr. Rank and then persuade
him to speak to Torvald about keeping Krogstad on at the bank. Yet
after Dr. Rank confesses that he loves her, Nora suddenly shuts down
and refuses to ask her favour. She has developed some moral honesty.
Despite her desperate need, she realizes that she would be taking
advantage of Dr. Rank by capitalizing on his love for her.

When Nora explains that Dr. Rank’s poor health owes to his father’s
promiscuity, for the second time we come across the idea that moral
corruption transfers from parent to child. (In Act One, Torvald argues
that young criminals result from a household full of lies.) These
statements clarify Nora’s torment and her refusal to interact with her
children when she feels like a criminal. They also reveal that both

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Torvald and Nora seriously believe in the influence that parents have
on their children. Although the children are infrequently onstage,
they gain importance through Nora and Torvald’s discussions of them
and of parental responsibility.

In this act, Nora shows signs that she is becoming aware of the true
nature of her marriage. When she compares living with Torvald to
living with her father, doubt is cast on the depth of her love for
Torvald. Nora is beginning to realize that though her life with
Torvald conforms to societal expectations about how husbands and wives
should live, it is far from ideal.
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