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A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen, is the story of a woman dealing with the patronization of marriage, as well as additional issues

of her own in the 19th century. Nora, the protagonist, has saved her husbands life by borrowing money from a man named Krogstad to pay for trip he needed. Her husband is neither a borrower nor a lender, and so Nora must keep this a secret in order to keep her place as the subordinate housewife to Torvald Hemler. Nora shows what is expected of the 19th century housewife by setting limitations and expectations upon herself. Nora has many nicknames including lark and squirrel, and we believe these nicknames to be given to her by Torvald. In Act II however, Nora strengthens the power of her nicknames by saying if your little squirrel begged you, with all her heart and soul, for somethingThen would you do it? ... Your squirrel would scamper about and do tricks if only youd give in. (Ibsen, 77). I find that this line is significant because it captures not only Nora in a moment of weakness where she must subdue to her husband, but because I find that it has a broader meaning. She literally means here that she will do favors of all sorts for Hemler if he would only do her a favor. However, her tone here suggests that she is desperate, but also that she has no problems doing tricks Torvald. One of her biggest tricks is dancing, which she mentions very often. We first hear of her dancing in Act II when she is getting ready for a costume part at which she will dance the tarantella. The idea of women dancing for men, in just about any situation, is regarded as degrading or at the very least inappropriate. To only increase the subordination, Torvald was the one to teach Nora how to dance this dance, and also helps pick out her outfit so that it will be pleasing to the crowd. Even though we never actually see a scene where she does her dance, we are often given the setting that she is dancing somewhere, or that Torvald has asked her to practice. Be this a degrading dance or not, Nora is putting on a show for Torvald that will benefit no one but himself. In Act III, Nora and Torvald come from the costume party, and he talks to her about how he could not keep her eyes off of her while she was dancing, and found himself attracted to her even more. His tone throughout that discussion before he reads the mail is filled with innuendo and Torvald trying to conquer Nora and objectify her as nothing more than something that danced for him and that he wants to have.

Ibsen includes the image of Noras tarantella in the story to display the relationship between her a Torvald, while reflecting other 19th century relationships that likely occurred. Women were objectified and denied education, and Torvald continues to degrade her by reducing her to no more than a dance or a lark (Ibsen). The worst part of this however, is that Nora plays along with this act, and allows herself to become the less than human that marriage could turn a woman into. At the beginning of the play, Nora was all too willing to give up her independence and wear what Torvald wanted her to, and do what he wanted her to. Throughout the course of the piece, Nora builds herself higher, becoming less and less fond of the nicknames and the dancing. It takes quite a lot of strength to leave the house and her children as she did, but this was not as common as it is today. In this age, divorce is fairly normal and equality seems like a right. To the women of the 19th century, being a wife meant being a housewife and following only the duties that reflect these necessities. Noras struggle represents a theme that many women encountered in her time, but unlike many other women had a stronger reason to leave because of the mess she had made of herself and for herself. It takes more than simple dislike of being subjugated. Nora proves that all the hard work and thought that must go into something as serious of leaving a husband in the 19th century is not easy or beneficial but true. Noras revolution against her husband shwos what is to come in the rest of the world after them where women such as Miss Halls Girls are not only required to get into college, but also to get a good job. This is not a one person judge of whether the woman is a good housewife or not. The housewives will often critique their work, but often play into whatever they can to avoid conflict. Unlike other women of her age, Nora leaves her fear of confrontation and moves on, but this is not easy for the other women of her time.

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