A Doll’s House – Growth and Development Theme Statement • Starting Theme: Growth and Development 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. 5 Evidence 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 …… 6 Universality 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. Characters • 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 idea. 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. Title 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. 14 Universality 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.