Henrik Ibsen is the author of the book A Doll’s House, which was written in the year 1879. The author presents the gender role issue to the audience through portraying a vivid, realistic family in the 1870s. From the book, it can be noted that men’s authority and power suppressed women’s freedom and intelligence. After researching the theme of A Doll’s House, I discovered that there are much more crucial and essential meaning behind this play. Ibsen also presents the issue between realism and idealism, the idea of family inequality and gender role in the society around the 1870s.
Henrik Ibsen was born in the year 1828 in Norway, in a place called Skien. He was the first born to Knud and Marichen Ibsen. Knud Ibsen, his father, was known to be a prominent merchant. His mother, Marichen Ibsen was a piano player who liked going to the theater. Henrik showed interest in becoming an artist. Henrik dropped out of school at the age of fifteen years and starting working as an apprentice in an apothecary located in Grimstad. Henrik worked in the apothecary for six years. In the year 1849, Henrik wrote his first play by the name Catalina. In the year 1850, Ibsen relocated to Oslo for the preparations of university examinations at the University of Christiana. At Oslo, he met a friend by the name Schulerud who paid for the publication of his first play. He became successful and wrote various plays, which made him a famous author. Henrik Ibsen died on May 23, 1906.
In the play, Nora is a beauty and intelligent women who are willing to sacrifices everything she has for her husband. Her husband Torvald has also idealized himself into a heroic character, who will save Nora when she is in danger. However, in reality, Torvald appears to be a selfish man who only cares about their family’s reputation and the overall “look” of the family. Appearance is exceptionally essential to Torvald. He only appreciates things that are “beauty” and not “ugly.” When he encounters situations that are not as appealing such as Dr. Rank’s health condition, it immediately changed the mood of Torvald (Ibsen 56).
In A Doll’s House, women play a small role in a family and society in general. Women do not have the authority to control the family’s money as men do. During the period that this play was written (the 1970s), Nora’s role from the society perspective was a dutiful mother and a wife. Meanwhile, women’s freedom in society is restricted. Women have limited right in a family, and men suppress their intelligence. Compared to Nora, Mrs. Linde have more freedom to have control over the money she earns herself since she is single. Even though she has more control over her finance, her wages were relatively low since she is a woman.
Alexander Pushkin was born in Moscow in 1799. As used to be shared among the Russian aristocracy of the early nineteenth century, his family adopted French culture, so he and his brothers received an education based on the French language and literature. At twelve, he was admitted to the newly created Imperial Lyceum, later renamed Lyceum Pushkin, and it was there he discovered his poetic vocation. Encouraged by several professors, he published his first poems in the journal Vestnik Evropy. They had a romantic tone influenced by contemporary Russian poets and French poetry of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Feinstein 16).
In the story, Silvio is depicted as a character who is prideful, insecure man. Most of his life he is serving as a respected soldier but has a lot of negativity around him. Silvio is jealous of his long lost enemy the count. He carries vengeance for a very long time, and at one point Silvio did not react to a confrontation all because of his revenge. All these factors show a very antagonistic literal character.
Frederick Douglas was a prominent abolitionist of America, an orator, as well as an author. He was also the first Black American to be in a long rant at the United States’ government. Frederick Douglas was born around 1818 in the County of Talbot. He died on February 20, 1895. Douglas was a famous individual and used to advise presidents. He also used to lecture thousands of Americans about the Irish home rule and the rights of the females. Although Douglas was in slavery, he managed to escape when he was twenty years old and later became an activist against slavery. The “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” is one of the famous writings of Frederick Douglas.
Slavery was a form of bargaining for human beings to go and work for white people. It happened during those ancient days between 1800 and 1900. People would come and be picked, or a village Raiden and the young and strong men n women are taken, transported and sold to a foreign land. Their masters had several acres of lands where they had plantations of different crops such as tobacco, pineapples, etc. they could buy these slaves from Africa in a slave trade market. After one is sold, they did not have a chance to see their family ever again unless by good luck which was unheard of. This paper pertains and analyzes such life in details where we study case the presence of Fredrick Douglas who spent a better part of his life as a slave.
Fredrick was born in slavery where her mother used to serve a slave. He never had a chance to see her and relate with her at a closer degree as this was not allowed for the slave. When he met her was during the night, and before he could wake up, she was already gone. She could trek for 10 miles to see her son and wake up early the next morning to be at the plantation. He was late only attracted brutal punishment and whipping. For instance, the writer is talking of when he could witness a master whip their slave so brutally until came out. And bitter as it is, he would continue whipping the part where blood was oozing from until he was tired was when he would let go. Crying and pleads of mercy from the victims seemed to entertain their masters and hence they would increase the whipping at the rhythm of cries and wails (Douglas 78).
We encounter several instances of brutally and mistreat in the story, some very moving and touching. We are left to wonder how hard their hearts had become to treat a human being like that. An example is when he tells of him hearing people say that slaves used to sing songs of joy and happiness for their masters. He goes on to say that it is impossible for a slave to sing joyfully; they can only do it to express their disappointment and grief buried deep down their hearts. It was their only way of overcoming the burden of sadness as it helps relieve a soul like shedding tears does. It is funny that we find in the story that slaves were fighting each other over the attributes of their slaves. There were rules and principles where the killing of a slave was not a crime in those plantations as slaves are master’s property and hence are entitled liberty of doing whatever they want with them as well as determine the fate and ultimate end of their lives.
After abortions became prevalent, there was a growing problem among the women who received abortions; many of them became depressed and reclusive after their experience. The women were dealing with emotional trauma as a side effect from terminating a fetus which could have turned into a living human being. The psychological toll of having an abortion was mostly unknown to American society at this time since the phenomena were so recent. Anne Sexton chose this controversial topic as the central theme for her poem, “The Abortion.”
The poem begins with “Somebody who should have been born is gone,” an eye-opening statement to the readers. This line sets a very ominous tone to the piece since a person is missing from the world and will not get the opportunity to be born. Anne then describes the earth from her unique perspective somehow influenced by the fact that somebody is missing. While driving south, Anne sees the roads which crack and look evil, as though coal has been poured throughout the earth. Again, she repeats the first line, lamenting that a person is missing who should have been born.
Anne pictures the evil, coal-like road breaking open and cracking with the earth below it. Anne contemplates this occurring and “wondering how anything fragile survives,” she relates the missing person to the struggle for life on earth. Sexton continues by speaking about a man she met in Pennsylvania, who took love fully and wholly from her. Anne left the man and returned to her home, up north, where the sky was thinner as if it went to nowhere (Sexton 1). She repeats the opening line for a third time, enforcing this thought into the readers’ mind. “Yes, woman, such logic will lead to loss without death. Or say what you meant, you coward… This baby that I bleed.” This last stanza portrays Anne chastising herself for foolishly avoiding speaking about her baby being the person who will not be born. She feels as though it is time for her to come to grips with the fact that she lost her baby to an abortion, which is a personal choice.
The man that Anne left in Pennsylvania was the father of her unborn child. Anne continues to think about him and wonders what would have happened if their baby was not missing from the world.
In summary, family and society were viewed in distinct ways. Various authors have been considered in this research in trying to understand how the family was recognized in the 19th century. Henrik Ibsen presents the issue between realism and idealism, the idea of family inequality and gender role in the society around the 1870s. Slavery was a form of bargaining for human beings to go and work for white people. This paper pertains and analyzes such life in details where we study case the presence of Fredrick Douglas who spent a better part of his life as a slave. Another issue which tries to describe the society in the 19th century is abortion. After abortions became prevalent, there was a growing problem among the women who received abortions; many of them became depressed and reclusive after their experience.
Douglas, Frederick. “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglas, an American slave written by himself.” Nina Baym, Norton anthology of American literature (1845).
Feinstein, Elaine. Pushkin: a biography. Ecco Press, 1999.
Ibsen, Henrik. A doll’s house. A&C Black, 2008.
Sexton, Anne. “The Abortion.” Poetry (2002).