The Doll House

When The Doll House was written in 1879, the world was still completely in the clutches of many horrific gender stereotypes.Women in particular were confined to very narrow roles, and were thought to be incapable of anything outside the scope of those roles.
The Helmer household was founded upon these stereotypes, and as we eventually see, could not stand without them.
Women were raised to believe that their place was in the home.Their primary functions were to cook, clean, bear children, maintain a nice home, and adorn themselves accordingly.In Nora's case, her main function is to keep up the facade of a "beautiful, happy home."
On the other hand, men were raised to finance the whole charade.Husbands went to work every day, dealt with all of the harsh realities of the world, and brought home a paycheck.Helmer comes home every day to the comfort and entertainment provided by Nora, and that is the only way he knows that a marriage can be.
Nora, however, knows that she is capable of more.When she was informed that her husband's life was in danger, she took a great financial burden upon herself.Although this was an act of love, Nora can't tell Helmer that she did it.Helmer is a firm believer that women have no understanding of financial matters, and would have been made to feel like less of a man if he knew that his life was indebted to his "squirrel," Nora.
That perhaps Nora knows more about money than how to spend it never enters Helmer's head.He assumes that Nora is just a pretty little "featherhead." Instead of treating her like an equal partner in their marriage, he treats her as an ornament and a child.
Nora feeds into the illusion, of course, because part of her role as a wife is to ensure that her husband feels in charge, and secure in his manhood.She asks for his guidance and approval in the most trivial of matters, even when she needs …


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