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Essay Comparing Louise Of Story Of An Hour And Nora Of A Doll's House

1952 words - 8 pages

Comparing Louise of The Story of an Hour and Nora of A Doll's House


  In Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour," the main character is a woman who has been controlled and conformed to the norms of society. Louise Mallard has apparently given her entire life to assuring her husband's happiness while forfeiting her own. This truth is also apparent in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. In this story, Nora Helmer has also given her life to a man who has very little concern for her feelings or beliefs. Both of these characters live very lonely lives, and both have a desire to find out who they really are and also what they are capable of becoming. Although the characters of Nora and Louise are very much alike in many ways, their personalities differ greatly when it comes to making decisions regarding the direction of their lives.

 

Both Nora and Louise's lives have been shaped and molded to conform to their husbands' wishes. At the time these stories took place, it was basically unheard of for women to assert their beliefs or to act upon their ideas. As a result, Louise was forced to succumb to the role of an obedient wife, in order to abide by the norms of society. This is apparent because of the way she reacts when she learns of a false rumor regarding her husband's sudden death. While in deep thought, and staring out the window by herself, she has a sudden realization of complete happiness and total freedom. As she tries hard to repress these fresh, new feelings, she speaks the words, "free, free, free" (23)! These words help the audience to understand the repression she has been forced to withstand for many years. She feels sudden exhilaration as she reflects on what her new life will bring her. She speaks of the treatment she has received by her husband when she says that he has "the face that had never looked save with love upon her" (23). She seems to feel resentment toward the fact that he has not loved and cherished her throughout the course of their marriage. Louise's thoughts continue to build as she thinks to herself "There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature" (23). This statement shows how he has held her back from expressing herself as a person and has forced his strong will upon her with which to obey. Nora has also been forced to conform to her role in society. She has conformed to playing the role of a caring housewife and mother. Her husband Torvald keeps a tight reign on her and makes sure that she behaves only as he pleases. In one instance, he detects that Nora has not been truthful with him. He remarks, "My little song-bird must never do that again. A song-bird must have a clean beak to chirp with?no false notes" (761)! This remark allows the audience to understand how much control he has over Nora. Throughout this story, Mr. Helmer maintains an arrogant attitude and expects Nora to always...

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