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Perception Of Femininity As Seen In "The Ring" And "A Doll's House"

1254 words - 5 pages

The perception of femininity has been the object of much thought and theoretical expression. Though countless debates have taken place upon a variety of fields within the expanse of the classification known as femininity, little clarification has come of it. There exist two standards by which females are judged: moral standards and physical appearance. However, there are many different details to be judged in these areas. The ethic criterion that determines what a woman is differs from person to person, whether they are sin or innocence; the same goes for outwards appearance, as each person has their own personal inclinations. One may further scrutinize these differences in the guises of the colorful characters presented in many works of literature.Isak Dinesen in his tale The Ring introduces a perspective of women that might be considered oppressing by the American standard of today. The main character Lise appears to have been highly tyrannized during her life, as is witnessed by her unwavering loyalty and obedience towards her husband in the story. As a daughter in her particular time period, she is expected to conform to her family's wishes, whatever they may be. As The Ring unravels, it is revealed that Lise is meant to marry Sigismund for possession rather than love, yet she eventually exhibits love for him, despite her situation. There are several examples of her submission dispersed throughout Dinesen's account. The most conspicuous one is Lise's encounter with the sick lambs. Though she is quite obviously disturbed by the various prodding and poking the two men expose the lambs to she does not run, but merely shrink back in fear. Only when her husband excuses her does she retreat to the groves that are, in her opinion, "full of promise." Repeatedly does she voice her wish to flee into the meadows carelessly, allowing her husband time to sweat before she returned to him. She is also shown as a sinful individual on different instances. When left to her own devices she reflects on thoughts that "...made her blush deeply." Her own constitution betrays her upon the meeting between herself and the sheep thief. As Lise peers into the face of the thief she does not think of being saved, but only of the unique feel of danger as she observes him. When she rejoins her husband her meeting with the vandal goes unmentioned as does the location of her ring, perhaps out of fear that she has abandoned her role of tame wife. Even she expresses this as she reflects on the loss of her wedding ring in the statement, "With this lost ring she had wedded herself to something. To what? To poverty, persecution, total loneliness. To the sorrows and the sinfulness of this earth."The drama A Doll's House is built around a woman's battle against the adversity of her own environs. Nora consistently undermines the terms that society has deigned "proper" in favor of being her own person. With their conceptions, the public will not allow Nora to succeed simply because...

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