A Doll's House (Henrik Ibsen) Vs. The Horse Whisperer (Nicolas Evans)

2085 words - 8 pages

In the nineteenth century, also known as the Victorian era, society valued women very insignificantly, regarding them with extreme negativity. Examples of this would be that women were expected to stay home, fulfill domestic duties, and take a subordinate position towards their husbands. Literature of this time embodies and mirrors social issues of women in society. A Doll's House, a play by Henrik Ibsen, while written in this time period, introduces a female protagonist as having her own purposes and goals. The heroine, Nora Helmer, progresses during the course of the play eventually to realize that she must discontinue the role of a "doll," or even the immature person that she is despite her age, and seek out her independence. The Horse Whisperer, a novel by Nicolas Evans, comments on many cultural issues that women face in the twentieth century. By now women have established the same social, economic, and political status as men. However individuality still remains a serious impediment, and this time it becomes an obstacle to women at a much earlier age. With intensity, protagonist Grace Maclean experiences every emotion imaginable with life. She deals with emotions of confusion, depression, and individualism in a very short period of time. More importantly Evan's shows the transition of Grace from a child to an adult.In A Doll's House, definite characteristics of the women's subordinate role in a relationship during the nineteenth century are emphasized through Nora's contradicting actions. Her infatuation with luxuries such as expensive Christmas gifts contradicts her resourcefulness in scrounging and buying cheap clothing; her defiance of Torvald by eating forbidden Macaroons contradicts the submission of her opinions, including the decision of which dance outfit to wear, to her husband; and Nora's flirtatious nature contradicts her devotion to her husband. All attention is devoted towards her. " 'There, there! My little singing bird mustn't go drooping her wings, eh? Has it got the sulks, that little squirrel of mine?' " (560). This is spoken from her husband Helmer as he hands her notes of money. These occurrences emphasize the facets of a relationship in which women play a dependent role: finance, power, and love. Ibsen attracts ones attention to these examples to highlight the overall subordinate role that a woman plays compared to that of her husband. The two sides of Nora contrast each other greatly and accentuate the fact that she is lacking an independence of will.In the twentieth century, families continue to rise for the same purposes, although changes have been made to which independence has been presented to each member. The only function of the family that continues to survive all change is the provision of affection and emotional support by and to all its members, particularly children and young adults. Instead of a husband and wife relationship, The Horse Whisperer carefully details the evolving relationship between both an...

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