Discuss cultural materialism in the play A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen.
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There are really two ways to address the question of cultural materialism in the play A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen. The first is to ask whether Karl Marx's theories of cultural materialism shaped or influenced the play and the second is two ask how modern literary critics can use the theory of cultural materialism as a way to interpret the play. Ibsen was certainly influenced by new forms of social thought and new ideas about gender roles, but it was really his English interpreters, especially George Bernard Shaw, who made the link between class and gender oppression. A culturally materialist reading would also emphasize how the money issue set in motion the main conflict of the plot. The central issue is more one of gender though than class, as is seen in the dialogue towards the end of the play:
HELMER: Before all else, you are a wife and a mother.
NORA: I don't believe that any longer. I believe that before all else I am a reasonable human being, just as you are—or, at all events, that I must try and become one.
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