A Doll`s House

A Doll’s House – Growth and
Theme Statement
• Starting Theme: Growth and
People can only grow and
develop, or mature once they
face the reality of their life
and the realities in society.
Growth and Development
• In Act I, Nora is little more than a child playing a
role; she is a "doll" occupying a doll's house, a child
who has exchanged a father for a husband without
changing or maturing in any way. Nevertheless,
through the course of the play, she is finally forced
to confront the reality of the life she is living. Nora
realizes in the final act of A Doll's House that if she
wants the opportunity to develop an identity as an
adult, she must leave her husband's home. When
Nora finally gives up her dream for a “miracle” and,
instead, accepts the reality of her husband's
failings, she finally takes her first steps toward
maturity. Her decision to leave is a daring one that
indicates the seriousness of Nora's desire to grow
into an independent adult.
Evidence One
NORA: Torvald is very like being with Papa
(Ibsen 196).
• Although Nora recognizes the similarities
between her father and her husband, she does
not realize the implications of swapping one
controlling, dominating father for another.
Because she is not ready to grow as an
individual, she allows and even encourages
Torvald to oppress and to control her thus
carrying on the circle started in childhood.
Evidence Two
MRS. LINDE: Two on one spar would be better
off than each of us alone (Ibsen 209).
• Mrs. Linde’s first husband left her with nothing,
“not even any regrets to break [her] heart over”
(Ibsen 154). Mrs. Linde married her husband to
gain financial security, but much like Nora, was
deluded in her perceptions of her husband and
left with nothing. In her conversation with
Krogstad, she demonstrates growth and maturity
when she proposes a realistic partnership based
on honesty and understanding.
NORA: Yes, I’m beginning to realize
everything (Ibsen 220).
• Nora begins to see Torvald for the person that
he has always been. In accepting that she
was wrong about her ……
This theme is universal because
everyone has to mature at some
point in order to become a
successful adult. Maturing often
involves facing reality and
dealing with it.
• Nora – embodies this theme
because she is the one who needs to
face reality and grow as an adult.
• Mrs. Linde – represents a foil to
this theme because she accepted
her reality a long time ago; her
aged appearance reinforces this
Central Conflict
Nora’s central conflict is with the
oppressive expectations and practices
of society. It is related to this theme
because Ibsen is saying that women
cannot fully realize their potential or
grow into adult humans while under
this oppression.
The title of the play, A Doll’s House,
does reflect this theme because Nora
lives as a child in her house under
her husband’s rule. As long as she
lives this way, she cannot fully grow
and develop into a woman.
A Doll’s House – Embroidery/Sewing
Symbol Statement
Embroidery and sewing symbolize the
gender stereotypes pressed on
women. They also further the
theme of appearance vs. reality.
Evidence One
NORA: Torvald can’t bear to see
dressmaking (Ibsen 186).
Torvald is the stereotypical male for this
time period. He avoids elements of the
household that symbolize the feminine
role, like sewing. He also prefers the
illusion that Nora is perfect and only there
for his amusement, thus he does not like to
see what sewing represents to him:
practical domesticity.
Evidence Two
• TORVALD: You know, it’d be much better if you did
embroidery. … It’s so much more graceful. I’ll show
you. You hold embroidery like this, in your left hand,
and you work the needle with your right – in ling easy
sweeps (Ibsen 213).
• Analyze the second quote here.
This symbol is not universal because
embroidery and sewing represent
enjoyment for some women and may
even represent independence because it
is a means of making money.
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