Act 1 Continued. From the beginning of Nora’s conversation with Mrs. Linde to Nora’s promise to talk to Torvald about finding Mrs. Linde work.
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Nora’s conversation with Mrs. Linde – establishes Nora’s childlike, self-centered, and insensitive character; conversation always comes back to Nora rather than talking about Linde’s problems
Nora’s self-centeredness futher demonstrated when she reveals that she failed to write after Linde’s husband died 3 years prior; only now does she express her sympathy – doing this now seems like a polite reflex
Nora does not filter her thoughts and expresses what’s on her mind whether appropriate or not (when she tactlessly comments that Linde’s looks have declined)
Nora recognizes that Linde is poor, but delights in the fact that they will have “pots and pots of money” – doesn’t recognize that such comments might be hurtful to her friend
Nora’s view of marriage: idealisitic; she clings to romantic notions of love/marriage
Linde’s view of marriage: realisitic; gained from the experience of being left with “not even an ounce of grief”
From Nora’s reaction to this comment, indicates to Linde (and to us) that Nora is sheltered and somewhat unsophisticated
The thread between Nora’s initial interactions with Torvald and Linde is the TENSION between Nora’s childish nature and her need to grow out of it.
Linde happen? From this conversation, she is naïve and childlike in many ways has had no doll-like existence, but seems poised to be Nora’s mentor on her journey to maturity
Linde – hardship after hardship; sacrifice after sacrifice is a far cry from the pampering Nora has received; BUT at the same time, both Linde’s and Nora’s marriages involve SACRIFICING themselves to another in exchange for money (Nora becomes Torvald’s plaything, while Linde marries for money to support her sick mother; Nora marries for her own welfare, while Linde marries for the welfare of her family
Theme of sacrificing personal desires, ambitions, and dignity shows up for both women
While the conversation between husband and wife seems one between an honest, happy couple in the beginning, in the second half we see that the household is full of SECRETS and DECEPTION.
Minor example – Nora eating macaroons – seems trivial – one can argue that the trivial nature of eating the macaroon is the very thing that makes the lie so troubling; the need to lie about something so insignificant speaks to the depths of both her guilt and the tension in her relationship with her hubby (she lies twice about this)
We can understand and forgive her actions because she is motivated by noble and selfless intent
In both instances, Nora lies because of Torvald’s unfair stereotypes about gender roles; if he could accept his wife’s help and didn’t feel the need to have control over her every movement, Nora would not have to lie to him
When Nora suggests that her hubby give illicitly acquired in order to save hubby’s life; involves a breach of law (she is guilty of forgery)Linde a job, he again shows his biases concerning women’s proper roles by immediately assuming she’s a widow – shows that a proper married woman should not work outside the home
After Nora reveals her secret to Linde, Nora’s and Linde’s versions of femininity slowly begin to converge. With knowledge of Nora’s noble act, her character deepens
Their common experience of sacrifice for others unites them even though they come from different economic backgrounds
Paradoxically, when Krogstad asks Nora to exert her influence on Torvald on his behalf, she perceives his request to be an insult to her husband because his statement implies that Torvald fails to conform to societal belief that the husband is responsible for financial matters
Krogstad wants to keep his job to build his reputation, but his decision to gain credibility through blackmail shows that he is interested only in reforming his appearance and not his inner self
Torvald is extremely limited is preoccupied with appearances, something Nora understands and uses to her advantage
She knows she can put her husband in a good mood by mentioning the costume that she will wear. The thought of her dressed up and looking beautiful placates Torvald
Torvald says: “I honestly feel sick, sick to my stomach, in the presence of such people” illustrates his deep contempt for moral corruption of Krogstad’s sort – while he thinks that such bad character is in contrast to his sweet, little Nora, we are aware that K and N have committed exactly the same crime—forgery
Torvald has unwittingly referred to his own wife when he scorns such people…his unknowing condemnation of the actions of the woman he loves is an example of dramatic irony.