Importance of Female Companions in The Awakening and A Doll's House
Female companions are very important to the development of the main characters in Kate Chopin's The Awakening and in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll House. Mademoiselle Reisz and Madame Ratignolle, in The Awakening, and Kristine Linde, in A Doll House, help Edna Pontellier and Nora Helmer discover their inner selves.
Mademoiselle Reisz, Madame Ratignolle, and Kristine Linde all act as role models for the protagonists. Edna deeply admires Mademoiselle Reisz's piano playing. When Edna hears Mademoiselle Reisz's playing, "the very passions themselves were aroused within her soul, swaying it, lashing it, as the waves daily beat upon her splendid body" (Chopin 35). Mademoiselle Reisz makes Edna see the strong emotions inside herself. Edna admires Madame Ratignolle's "comforting and outgoing nature" (Solomon 118). At the beginning of the novel, Edna wishes she could have Madame Ratignolle's easygoing nature.
Kristine Linde is a role model for Nora because of her independence. Kristine Linde has supported herself and has been successful at being an independent woman . When Kristine Linde is describing her lifestyle to Nora, Nora's response is "How free you must feel" (Ibsen 51). Kristine makes Nora see that women can feel liberated and happy when they are independent.
Madame Ratignolle helps Edna discover her passionate side. In The Awakening, Madame Ratignolle loans Edna a book that discusses intimate occurrences. Edna learns to overcome her astonishment and discusses her feelings with Madame Ratignolle. Before she met Madame Ratignolle, Edna "was not accustomed to an outward and spoken expression of affections" (Chopin 22). After becoming accustomed to Madame Ratignolle's affectionate manner, Edna is able to express her feelings for Robert and others.
Kristine Linde helps Nora discover her strong side. Nora is able to openly confide in Kristine her secret about the money she borrowed and is able to...