Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen Term Paper

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You see he does not believe I am sick!" (Gilman).

In fact, there is a question as to whether the narrator drags her husband along with her in her journey into madness. Two feminist writers note, "At the moment when Gilman's narrator completes the identification with her double in the wallpaper, she experiences an epiphany. To John she exclaims, 'I've got out at last... In spite of you and Jane!'" (Delashmit, and Long 33). She has realized her freedom, but at a very heavy cost. Like Nora, she leaves behind a child and a husband in order to live in her private "mad" world. Some critics believe she is the result of a "sick" society that treats women so inhumanely they have few options but to desert their families or go mad (Herndl 114). Obviously, the cost to the women and the family is extremely high, and the obstacles they face after they fight for their right are extremely high as well. The narrator will probably never regain full sanity, and even if she does, her husband will never believe she is "cured" or capable. Nora may never return to the family, and she will face many obstacles attempting to make a living on her own at a time when few middle- or upper-class women worked outside the home.

Both women fought for what they knew was right at a time when women were literally kept behind closed doors for most of the time. Both women could see the wrongs and injustices in society, and both knew there had to be more for them somewhere else. The narrator pays the highest cost because she gives up her sanity and her family, and she faces the
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greatest obstacles to a normal life. It is interesting that the male author (Ibsen) creates a character that seems irrational in her decision to leave, while the female author creates a character that is quite sympathetic even as madness creeps up on her. This indicates just how different male and female views were at the time. Both women fought and spoke out about wrongs, but they were viewed differently even by their own authors.

In conclusion, these two stories indicate how important moral and social consciousness is in our society, and how it can be a great service to others in trouble or in need. No one stepped up to help either of these women, and so they had to fight their own battles and discover what was right any way they could. They both choose isolation and single identity in some form, and they both fight for the wrongs they see in a morally sick society. They both face great obstacles, and the reader will never know the outcome of their fight. The cost is high, but for these women, the results seem worth it, which is a sad commentary about how they were treated and the options they felt were open to them in the Victorian age.

References

Delashmit, Margaret, and Charles Long. "Gilman's the Yellow Wallpaper." Explicator 50.1 (1991): 32-33.

Downs, Brian W. A Study of Six Plays by Ibsen. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1950.

Egan, Michael. Henrik Ibsen: The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge, 1997.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper." College of Staten Island: City University of New York. 2006. 17 Jan. 2007. http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/wallpaper.html

Herndl, Diane Price. Invalid Women: Figuring Feminine Illness in American Fiction and Culture, 1840-1940. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1993.

Ibsen, Henrik. "A Doll's House." Project Gutenberg. 2002. 17 Jan. 2007. http://digital.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=2542

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Delashmit, Margaret, and Charles Long. "Gilman's the Yellow Wallpaper." Explicator 50.1 (1991): 32-33.

Downs, Brian W. A Study of Six Plays by Ibsen. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1950.

Egan, Michael. Henrik Ibsen: The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge, 1997.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper." College of Staten Island: City University of New York. 2006. 17 Jan. 2007. http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/wallpaper.html

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