Ibsen: Keeping it Real Since 1879
Realism is a style of writing in which the author strays away from romance and fantasy and leans toward the everyday life of real people and the negative aspects of their lives. The Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen captures the true essence of realism in his famously controversial play A Doll’s House. Nora is an idealistic wife who bows down to her husband’s commands and fulfills his every wish. When Torvald, her husband, fell sick she did everything she could to save his life, going as far as forging her dead father’s signature to receive money to pay for their trip to Italy for better heath care. The story takes place during Christmas time, where Nora is now forced to come to terms with the crime she has committed once Krogstad, the man at the bank who gave Nora the money she needed, reveals to her his plan to tell Torvald about her forgery. A Doll’s House is a perfect example of realism, containing many of the key elements of this genre. Ibsen highlights the forced role of women, the deceptive appearances people use to hide their troubles behind, and uses a realist form and style of writing. Understanding the realism genre of literature allows the reader to enjoy a style of writing in which they can relate to and find comfort in, knowing that someone, somewhere, sometime experienced exactly what they themselves are going through Like many women of her time, Nora has to forget about her own wants and ideas and put on the role a women must play to please the people around her. Torvald constantly is putting Nora in her place. When Torvald comes home one afternoon he finds Nora sitting surrounded with bags from her trip to town. He reprimands her about her spending habits before comforting her, saying, “Now, now, my little song-bird mustn’t be so crestfallen. Well? Is the squirrel sulking?” (Ibsen 149). Torvald is trying to console his wife while also belittling her by using endearing terms. In reality, his words make Nora feel...
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