Interchange Conference Transcript
[Message #1 09:29:04 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
In Act I, Nora frequently acts as Torvald's "little lark" and "squirrel"(1131-2); by the end of Act III, Nora tells Torvald she had "duties to [her]self"(1176) and that she must leave him and the children. Does the picture of Nora's character in the opening scene and in Act I prepare us at all for the Nora of Act III? Why or why not?
As you respond to the questions above, try to find examples to support your interpretations. Feel free to address just one of these questions in your first posting, too, so that we can get the discussion rolling....
[Message #2 10:16:40 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
The audience is completely unprepared for the one hundred and eighty degree turn that Nora provides. She begins as subservient to Torvald and ends as Independent with Torvald subservient to her.
[Message #3 10:16:49 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
No-In Act I Nora seems to be that loving mother and wife. It is not until the beginning of Act II that she starts to question where she stands. It is also the guilt that she feels.
[Message #4 10:16:57 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
I think that some of these same characteristics in Nora are seen at the beginning of the play. At the beginning, she doesn't seem to be exactly strong but I think that she has an inner strength that comes about at the end of the play.
[Message #5 10:17:17 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
No, I don't think this initial picture of Nora prepares us for the Nora in Act III.
[Message #6 10:18:45 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
I forgot to say why, in the beginning Nora comes across as extremely dependant and not capable of accomplishing things
[Message #7 10:19:01 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
What about her actions and speeches in that opening scene? What do her lies, for instance, tell us about her character?
[Message #8 10:19:05 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
I agree with you Patrick. We are made to think that everything is okay. It is when she has the conversation about Mr. Krogstad that we see her changing.
[Message #9 10:20:57 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
Katie: I think that she is far from "not exactly strong" at the beginning. She bends to Torvald's every whim and takes his condescending speech as 'normal' conversation. Nora is completely dependent on Torvald for both monetary and emotional support in Act I.
[Message #10 10:21:29 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
Her lies show us that she is independent and also flawed in many ways. Her lie about the macroons for instance, she wants to please Torvald. But she feel that she has to meet his expectations.
[Message #11 10:23:17 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
In the opening scene Nora's actions come across as someone who is a little deviant. The lies she tells Torvald about the macaroons was gave a insight to character. Was anyone else bothered by the fact that she has to lie about eating a macaroon? She a grown woman.
[Message #12 10:23:37 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
Good point Taureeq (#10) -- are Nora's lies generally the result of her selfishness or her desire to please/help others?
[Message #13 10:23:36 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
She is a grown woman. sorry about that
[Message #14 10:23:41 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
I agree that Nora needs her husband for support and also wants to do things her way without disappointing him.
[Message #15 10:23:56 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
ok, but isn't a little independance shown when she takes out a loan by herself? She doesn't use the money for her children or the house to pay back the loan, but the money for herself.
[Message #16 10:24:13 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
RE: #13: Yes: The relationship between Torvald and Nora is more of a parent to a child, right?
[Message #17 10:25:41 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
I agree. There are references to Nora being an animal (ie squirrel). Maybe a master/pet relationship in a way.
[Message #18 10:26:20 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
Dr. Westman her lies seem to be a result of trying to benefit everyone else. That at some point she looses herself totally. She is self-less all around.
[Message #19 10:26:46 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
yes, Torvald's always condescending to her and treats her like a child. He doesn't seem to think that she has a mind of her own.
[Message #20 10:28:33 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
RE: #13 Yes their relaionship does appear to be that of a parent to child. Nora wants to live alittle, but she doesn't know how, that is why she breakdown in the end.
[Message #21 10:28:48 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
I think that Nora's personality change brings one of the largest 'flaws' in "A Dolls House." Her personality goes from subservient and utterly dependent to completely independent and near self-actualization. That jump, in mere days, is very hard to me to make.
[Message #22 10:29:35 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
RE: 21: It is a big jump: perhaps we would want to say that Nora ends the play on the cusp of change, or ready for change, rather than fully "self-actualized"?
[Message #23 10:30:17 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
Do we have qany other signs of her independence, her ability to control situations, durng Act I and Act II?
[Message #24 10:34:59 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
Taureeq: Besides telling lies to benefit the others, she is also self-less in sacrificing her own material needs in order to pay off the loan. She wears cheap dresses in order to save money when she would rather wear the finer things.
[Message #25 10:38:24 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
RE 23: Nora is able to control Torvalds actions in minuet ways for bits of independence in Act II. Nora was able to convince Torvald not to open the mailbox for a few days. Even this is only the result of Nora showing helplessness to Torvald, so he would be sidetracked into helping his 'helpless' wife.
[Message #26 10:38:41 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
********* Our time is almost up: As a way to sum up our discussion here on NoraÆs character, please respond to the following question as a final posting:
Has Nora's character changed during the course of the play? If so, how? If not, what has allowed her to remain the same? (Please offer an example in your response.)
[Message #27 10:40:15 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
RE: #23- We see Nora in conversation with Mr. Krogstad, who tries to blackmail her. He is afraid that he may lose his job. Act I pg 1145 she says to him go on and try. "It'll turn out worse for you, because my husband will see what a crook you are," Nora let him have it I think. Even though she is scared about what the outcome would be, she still standsup to him.
[Message #28 10:42:23 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
I think that her character did change and become more independant. The most obvious and important example is when she tells Torvald that she's leaving him and the children.
[Message #29 10:42:42 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
I think that her character is still the same but maybe awake to reality? There is definitely a "growth" there. Patrick talked about how by the end Nora was close to "self-actualization" stage.
[Message #30 10:43:21 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
Nora's character has changed during the course of the play, because in the beginning she can stand for what she believes in, but she has played the role for so long that in the end she is tired of playing that role that she leave that "Doll House" setting.
[Message #31 10:44:42 AM, Thursday, March 06, 2003]
Nora changes her character in so many ways its hard to see the 'old' Nora. She is forsaking a safe and provided life with Torvald to brave the world as a single woman. During these times, single women lived a very hard life. I think this shows that she realized her being an independent woman was much more important then material items.