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The Feminist Movement in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

The Feminist Movement in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

In Henrik Ibsen’s, A Doll’s House, the character of Nora Helmer goes through the dramatic transformation of a kind and loving housewife, to a desperate and bewildered woman, whom will ultimately leave her husband and everything she has known. Ibsen uses both the characters of Torvald and Nora to represent the tones and beliefs of 19th century society. By doing this, Ibsen effectively creates a dramatic argument that continues to this day; that of feminism.

We are introduced in Act I with Nora returning from Christmas shopping. Ibsen utilizes this time for dramatic purposes of the Christian holidays and to show the struggle between a middle class marriage. Nora plans on having a big holiday bash, while Torvald would rather refrain since there is a rather limited cash flow. “Nora: Oh yes, Torvald, we can squander a little now…piles of money” (Ibsen 1506). Torvald follows up with, “But then it is three full months till the raise comes through” (Ibsen , 1506).

Nora at this point in the play is nothing more than a child, careless in her action and not thinking ahead of possible consequences. Nora sees nothing wrong in spending big on Christmas. Granted this is a righteous cause, since the holidays are about giving to others, but still a parent should know the limit of happiness they should bring.

At this point Torvald begins to act as “society” and unknowingly begins to use condescending terms towards Nora. “Are you scatterbrains off again?” (Ibsen 1506), “…my dear little Nora.” (Ibsen 1507), (You’re an odd little one” (Ibsen 1507). Torvald sees nothing wrong in these little pet names he gives Nora. He is absolutely right there is nothing wrong with pet name…

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…aged to awaken or give strength to the feminist movement.

Works Cited and Consulted

Durbach, Errol. A Doll’s House: Ibsen’s Myth of Transformation. Boston: Twayne, 1991.

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll House (1879). Trans. Rolf Fjelde. Rpt. in Michael Meyer, ed. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 5th edition.


The Hidden Truth in The Rocking-Horse Winner by D. H. Lawrence

The Hidden Truth in “The Rocking-Horse Winner” by D. H. Lawrence

The plot in “The Rocking-Horse Winner” by D. H. Lawrence reveals to the reader conflicts between Paul and his mother using different levels or forms of secrecy. There are secrets hidden throughout the house that leads Paul and his mother to an unpleasant life. The first level of secrecy is the actual secrets that Paul and Paul’s mother keep from each other. The second form of secrecy is that D. H. Lawrence uses a story telling style of writing. This way of writing in itself holds many secrets. Finally, the third level of secrecy is through the use of symbolism.

Paul’s mother tries to show others that she is a good mother even though “at the center of her heart [is] a hard place that could not feel love, no, not for anybody” (Lawrence 524). The children know their mother has this block for love and it is Paul’s goal to find love from his mother. His mother’s only obsession is to have money. According to W. R. Martin Paul’s mother feels that if she has money her problems will disappear and she can obtain that “high social class” she does not deserve to be in (65). This adds conflict because there is a child that is neglected by his mother and a mother who is only interested in herself and the social class she lives in.

Paul’s secrets add conflict in the story because the secrets separate him and his mother and eventually lead him to his death. Paul rides a wooden rocking horse that his parents gave to him as a gift. While riding a voice will sometimes magically whisper the next week’s winner in the upcoming horse races. Without his mother knowing, Paul will ask the young gardener, Bassett, to place bets on horse races behind her back. Then he gives …

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… story a classic. He did not only write a story that had a good plot line, but a story that had many in depth topics. The way the conflicts were shown throughout the story between Paul and his mother using secrecy was magnificent. D. H. Lawrence is an excellent writer and “The Rocking-Horse Winner” is a prime example of the talent that he has.

Works Cited

Beauchamp, Gorman. “Lawrence’s The Rocking-Horse Winner.” Explicator 31.5 (1973): Item 32.

Fitz, L. T. “‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’ and The Golden Bough.” Studies in Short Fiction 9 (1973): 199-200.

Junkins, Donald. “‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’: A Modern Myth.” Studies in Short Fiction 2.1 (1964): 87-89.

Martin, W. R. “Fancy or Imagination? ‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’.” College English 24 (1962): 64-65.

Steinbeck, John. “The Rocking-Horse Winner.” Modern Fiction Studies 9.1 (1965): 390-391.

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