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Taking Sides: An Analysis Of A Doll’s House

2573 words - 11 pages

Time can have a way of changing people sometimes. It can cause people to forget, learn new things and even change views on topics. Such was the case in my own life over the course of two years. When I was a junior in high school, I read A Doll’s House (1879) by Henrik Ibsen for a literature class. The play is about a woman who illegally borrows money to save her demeaning husbands life. Later being blackmailed by a banker, she reveals what she did to her husband who is horrified. In the end, she decides to leave the family to further find herself. After reading and analyzing it as a class, I came to the conclusion that Nora was right in what she did. She was a pioneer of her time in that she spoke her mind and was able to voice her independence. However, two years later after rereading it for this class, my view has changed of Nora. Instead of being strong and independent, I am now viewing her as childish and a poor mother. By using a Readers-Response approach to analyzing literature, I will compare my views between each time of reading the play. Just as I have viewed Nora differently, other readers can create their own take on the play based on their knowledge and life experiences. Due to many views on the play’s ending, Nora can be viewed as either a strong, independent woman or a childish woman that does not realize the impact of her actions.
Unni Langas points in her article, “What did Nora do? Thinking gender with A Doll’s House” (2005) helped to strengthen my first view on the play. The main point in her article is that she wants people to see the play more as a story about a woman gaining in personal development and courage rather than gender roles in a society mostly male dominated. At the end of the play, she wants readers to be thinking, “What did Nora do?” instead of “Where did Nora go?”. By emphasizing the question of what was going on in her head rather than a general idea of where she went, it reminds readers that Nora was a strong woman that was tired of being demeaned. The gender degration was prominent back around when the play was written and produced compared to today’s time period. The status of gender then was often affected by society. Women were expected to be maternal, take care of the children, and likewise with the household. They were expected to put up a good front and make it appear as if the household was fine, even if there was trouble. Langas believed that comparing that to the gender ideals today would definitely not apply to all the households. Due to many activists, females have many more opportunities and the ability to do much more than take care of children and clean. Nora, one of the main characters in the play, did not follow that typical gender norm in that time however through the course of the play.
Langas argues that Nora makes two influential decisions through the course of the play, which reveals a clear example of her maturity and nature. Firstly, she takes up a loan by herself, which was illegal...

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