Food’s Role of Foreshadowing and an Escape from Reality for the Protagonists of Metamorphosis and a Dollhouse

Topics: Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House, Food Pages: 4 (1502 words) Published: May 31, 2013
In Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, a young man named Gregor gets transformed overnight into a massive grotesque bug, much to his family’s disgust. After trying to live with his family and hold onto his past relationships, he eventually dies due to lack of love and wounds he received from members of his household. In A Dollhouse by Henrik Ibsen, a woman named Nora Helmer struggles to maintain her relationships with her husband, friends, and associates as she deals with financial troubles and scandals. Eventually, she ends up divorcing her husband Torvald after she goes through an awakening and realizes that she has been miserable with her marriage. In both works, the authors use food as a symbol of an escape from reality for Nora and Gregor, creating a foreshadowing in their future character development. The play A Dollhouse begins with Nora Helmer entering her home after doing some Christmas shopping, and Ibsen opens the play with Nora participating in an open act of rebellion. Nora smuggles in forbidden macaroons and hides them from her husband. The audience realizes that buying these macaroons is forbidden when Helmer asks Nora if “Miss Sweet-Tooth [had] been breaking rules in town to-day” by visiting a bakery or confectioner’s (Ibsen). The audience also realizes that Nora knows that the macaroons are not allowed in the house when “She takes a packet of macaroons from her pocket and eats one or two; then goes cautiously to her husband's door and listens” (Ibsen ). She shows her guilt for this act through this action, and her husband senses this guilt when he states that “it [struck him] that [she was] looking rather—what shall I say—rather uneasy to-day” when she entered the home (Ibsen). She then blatantly lies to him when she says that she “certainly [had] not” nibbled any sweets or macaroons. Ibsen uses macaroons as a symbol of Nora’s rebellion against Torvald. At this early point in the play, Torvald is lighthearted in the enforcement of his rules, stating...
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