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Chopin's The Story of an Hour and Ibsen's A Doll House - Book Report/Review Example

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Chopin's The Story of an Hour and Ibsen's A Doll House

At her wits' end, since Krogstad, having received his dismissal from Helmer, proposes not to have her prosecuted but to use the threat of that as blackmail over her husband, Nora lets Fru Linde fully into the secret of the loan, about which she had only dropped some exulting hints at their first meeting; and Fru Linde, who is also an old friend of Krogstad, promises to do what she can to dissuade him from the proposal. It seems Nora is comforted by the world around her but despair continues to attack her. "Listen, Torvald. I have heard that when a wife deserts her husband's house, as I am doing now, he is legally freed from all obligations towards her" (Ibsen). His wife, Nora, is presumably by something his junior, and, mother of three children though she may be, she has remained young for her years, as is revealed by her schoolgirl's taste for sweets and the unselfconscious abandon with which she romps among her children. She dances and sings. Her husband calls her 'squirrel' and 'lark' (Egan 48). She is very charming, entirely devoted to her husband; nor must one suppose that she neglects the ordinary duties which her generation expected of a wife, housekeeper and mother. On the other hand, a giddy pate often going with a light heart, Nora has the defects of her qualities. She has learned too deliberately to exploit the latter in order to gain her ends and she habitually indulges in chicane and deceit. In The Story of an Hour, Chopin portrays a woman who lives with unloved husband unable to divorce and start a new life (Sayersted 55). She is perceived as a physically weak person who needs care and family support, Chopin begins the story with the following words: "Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death" (Chopin 25), similar to Mrs. Mallard, Nora may well be excused: not only has she never been taught better by an indulgent father or an indulgent husband, but her peccadilloes, when found out, have as often as not proved a subject for merriment. Only one event in her life has put her character to the test. That, of course, was her husband's serious illness and, though forgery is an ugly word and a still uglier thing, Nora resolutely faced a situation unlike any she had yet known; her perseverance in paying off the debt by very distasteful work, amid difficulties which it does not take much imagination to conceive, is altogether praiseworthy. In estimating Nora Helmer's character, we must not overlook the traces of such solid and hopeful elements (Egan 49).
Both authors, Ibsen and Chopin, criticize marriage and social norms. In his criticism of marriage, Ibsen was seen to be joining in that disturbing modern movement of looking in general upon man and his social arrangements. A Doll's House afforded support for this apprehension outside the treatment of the Helmer marriage (Egan 43)Nora is irresponsible and frivolous, not only because the serious elements in her nature have never received encouragement, but also because she has inherited from her father a disposition towards frivolity and irresponsibility. Fundamentally, that is the great problem in all the works of ...Show more

Summary

In a short story The Story of an Hour and a play A Doll House, the authors portray hardship and problems faced by women during 19th century. The main character of Ibsen's play, Nora, suffers from misunderstanding and cold family relations. Mrs. Mallard, from Chopin's story, suffers from social values and false morals deprived women a chance to divorce…
Author : jadams
Chopins The Story of an Hour and Ibsens A Doll House essay example
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