A Doll’s House Essay

As a child progresses through the various stages of life, he or she may crawl across the knots of knitted carpet, gallop around the plastic structures of a schoolyard and weave amongst a mass of people, each one traveling a different route to arrive at destinations poles apart, but unless a sense of worth, instilled by a parent’s assurance, overflows from the mouth of this developing being, the journey to find oneself amid the throng of individuals will prove an arduous and extensive one—possibly spanning one’s lifetime. Kate Chopin, in The Awakening, and Henrik Ibsen, in A Doll’s House, understood the significance of a parental figure in the development of a young person’s self-esteem, even in the Victorian Era, highlighting this fact with a void in the parental seat of the lives’ of their protagonists, Edna Pontellier and Nora Helmer, respectively. The vacant maternal role and feeble paternal relationship influences each of the protagonists’ sense of self-worth, which projects through relationships with their husbands, children, society as a whole and, their ultimate choice of abandonment.

Employing realism, ridding the work of all fantasy and overtly extravagant elements for the audience to recognize themselves in various situations, Chopin and Ibsen allow “unfolding” (Roberts 1664) events as their works progressed, to disclose events previous to the span of the work; they cast shadows on events in literary present, exposing the cause of the problem—the mother’s absence in the protagonists’ lives. In the case of Edna Pontellier, her father’s “authority” (Chopin 77), “putting [his] foot down good and hard” (77), facilitated her mother’s expedition to the grave, while Nora Helmer’s mother goes without mention over the play’…

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…arch of other’s to tell her of her beauty, for she does not have this revelation within herself since her father seemingly forgot to inform her. Likewise, Nora, although the decision lacked good, needed to Anne’s confirmation that her children “would [not] forget their mother” (Ibsen 30) if she were to leave, due to her inability to come to this conclusion alone; both search for others’ approval and finding that it comes only from within, each abandon their oppressing forces which all stem from their society’s establishments. In the denouements of both works, the protagonist realizes that their entire lives have been guided and charted by others rather than themselves and make a decision to press forward, without the superfluous contributions and disdain of others, despite the ramifications such a decision incurs, such as the repetition of the motherless child.

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