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A Doll's House: Interesting Aaspects of Technique

Savannah Beall Duyen Ha, IB. ENG. 11-1
by

Duyen Ha

on 22 January 2013

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Transcript of A Doll's House: Interesting Aaspects of Technique

A Doll's House:
"What Aspects of Technique are
Interesting in this Work?" Savannah Beall
Duyen Ha
IB. ENG. 11 - 1 Realism • Henrik Ibsen = founder of realist drama.
• Before A Doll’s House, most European plays used Romanticism,
or the French “well-made play”
• We are so used to movies, TV shows, and plays presented
in the realist fashion, that we forget how revolutionary the concept
was in Ibsen’s time.
• Realism grew in America and Europe during the second half of
the nineteenth century
• It was things found in real life, and rejected idealized situations,
unnaturally heroic characters, and unlikely happy endings.
• Characters spoke in a natural style, and dialogue was written in prose.
• Social and ethical issues were most often the focus of realist dramas
Realism VS Naturalism •Realism not to be confused with naturalism
* The 2 styles were developed in around the same time
* However, they have big differences:
* Naturalism very strict about portraying everyday life exactly as it is.
* Characters might talk incessantly about no particular subject and the play may lack any sort of climax- just like a normal day is for most people.
* Realism = much looser interpretation of everyday life. Tries to convey a particular message, usually having to do with social criticism. Uses melodramatic devices to achieve this goal.
In Conclusion to Realism
Symbolism & Allegory of time-setting cont. NORA! I'm not
your doll! • The stark realism of A Doll’s House, and its sense of opening the door into a real marriage with real problems, shocked European audiences and theatre critics.

• Was very different from what they were used to seeing, and it addressed social problems that had previously been very taboo and never spoken about. Such as the outwardly respectable nineteenth-century marriage, and the evolving role of women in society. The play brought these issues out into the open and forced people to talk about them.
• Play is set during Christmas and New Year’s.
o Both Christmas and New Year's associated with rebirth and renewal. EX: “Happy NEW year.” ... Christmas time is towards end of the year.
• So both Nora and Torvald have a spiritual awakening, or, a rebirth.
____

• Nora's trials force her to realize the awful state of her marriage. Her marriage to Torvald is actually not as good as it appears. (Beginning of DH vs the end)
o When the "wonderful thing did not happen" pg. 79 (Torvald taking Nora’s
guilt for her) Nora realizes that Torvald is not and was never the man she
thought he was.
o So when she slams the door behind her, she disconnects herself from
Torvald, begins the start of becoming an independent
woman and is reborn.


• Opposite happens to Torvald.

o Torvald’s rebirth occurs when he realizes that he is not
as strong as he thinks at end of play when Nora decides to leave him.
o Torvald needed Nora more than he realized. Without her, Torvald is a
weak man.
o Torvald is reborn, but for the worse. Torvald --> •The Christmas tree = symbolizes Nora. How?
•. Stage directions at beginning of Act 2 say,
o "The Christmas Tree is in the corner by the piano, stripped of
its ornaments and with burnt-down candle-ends on its disheveled
branches" (Act 2, pg. 35).

•Stage directions go on to say that, "[Nora] is alone in the room, walking
about uneasily" (Act 2, pg. 35).

•So really, Nora is a mess and so is the tree. She has just gotten bad
news from Krogstad (Krogstad blackmailing Nora) and so her mind is
just as disheveled as the tree.

Symbolism, Imagery, & Allegory of the Christmas Tree Nora --> cont. • The tree also symbolic of Nora's disintegrating web of lies.
-EX: Nora at first hangs pretty ornaments on the tree, but as time passes, the decorations fall off. Likewise, Nora’s lies were once nice and tide, but as time goes on, falls apart and becomes plain for all to see towards end of DH.
• Finally, Nora’s job in the house is the same as the Christmas tree’s.
• Both are there only to look pretty.
- EX: She decorates the tree just as Torvald decorates her for the Stenborgs' party with a fancy dress.
- EX: Torvald repeatedly calls her pet names, like “my pretty singing bird” and treats her as a child—pretty but impractical. Unreliability of Appearances • DH surprises us with a lot of topsy turvy appearances.
o EX: Beginning of play, Nora seems to be a silly, childish woman, but as play progresses, we see that she is intelligent, dedicated, and strong-willed. (ie: walking out on Torvald and even forging her father’s signature)
o Another EX: Torvald initially seems strong and giving to Nora as a husband but reveals himself to be cowardly, petty, and selfish because of Krogstad’s scandal, his reaction to the letter, and ultimately, when Nora leaves him.
cont. Other situations thatare unreliable.
o “The seeming hatred between Mrs. Linde and Krogstad turns out to be love.
o Nora’s creditor turns out to be Krogstad and not, as we and Mrs. Linde suppose, Dr.
Rank.
o Dr. Rank, to Nora’s and our surprise, confesses that he is in love with her.
o The seemingly villainous Krogstad repents and returns Nora’s contract to her.
o The seemingly kindhearted Mrs. Linde ceases to help Nora and forces Torvald’s discovery of Nora’s secret.” Sources http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/dollhouse/themes.html
http://www.shmoop.com/dolls-house/christmas-new-year-symbol.html
http://www.shmoop.com/dolls-house/christmas-tree-symbol.html
http://www.shmoop.com/dolls-house/writing-style.html http://www.novelguide.com/ADoll'sHouse/essayquestions.html Realism, Naturalism Symbolism, Allegory, Imagery & Unreliable Appearances
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