Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House Essay

Kate Chopin’s work, The Awakening, and Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, were composed at a time when men dictated women in every part of life. They are both superior examples of literary works greatly ahead of their time. Each work exemplifies the strict social standards placed on women and how they destructively affected the women. They also demonstrate how the women were able to overcome over these social ethics and get towards a life of vaster fulfillment. The characters in The Awakening and A Doll’s House were very similar. In addition, the trials that they faced were also very similar. Both of the female characters are confronted with the fact that they have an authoritarian for a husband, and create an exit scheme to leave them. For Nora this includes deserting her family and running away, while Edna makes the choice that Nora could not do and commits suicide. Nora and Edna also harbor a secret that ultimately leads to their choice to leave their families. In addition, both writings also seem to have similar themes. They both explore the idea of freedom and discovering one’s own identity. Furthermore, they show how a woman in late 1800s often had no freedom from what society anticipated of them. As an outcome, the only way they could find their own identity was by leaving these social standards inflicted by their family life. Ibsen and Chopin appear to purposely present their main characters in this way and use their gifts for writing to foretell a transformation in society that needs to and will eventually occur. There are many similarities between the two: each protagonist seems happy about their marriage in the beginning, controlled by their husband, has a secret, and eventually realizes they are someone.

Edna Pon…

… middle of paper …

…vald, she tells him, “I don’t believe that any longer. I believe that before all else I am a reasonable human being, just as you are—or, at all events, that I must try and become one. I know quite well, Torvald, that most people would think you right, and that views of that kind are to be found in books; but I can no longer content myself with what most people say, or with what is found in books. I must think over things for myself and get to understand them.” (Ibsen 112) Therefore, in the end both Edna and Nora left in dramatic ways, one leaving a life and the other leaving a family.


Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. Coradella Collegiate Books, 11 Oct. 2004. PDF.

Chopin, Kate, McMichael, George L., J. S. Leonard, and Shelley Fisher. Fishkin. The Awakening. Anthology of American Literature. Tenth ed. Vol. II. Boston: Longman, 2011. 697-786. Print.

Leave a Comment