In act 1, Mrs. Linde describes Nora as “a child.” Is this assessment of Nora’s state of development valid?

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Although Nora has lived a privileged life, calling her a child is not accurate or fair. In fact, Mrs. Linde has just come to Nora for help: "When you told me the happy change in your lot, do you know I was delighted less for your sakes than mine?" Nora,...

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Although Nora has lived a privileged life, calling her a child is not accurate or fair. In fact, Mrs. Linde has just come to Nora for help: "When you told me the happy change in your lot, do you know I was delighted less for your sakes than mine?" Nora, to her credit, immediately responds that she will ask her husband Torvald to help. The fact that Mrs. Linde, just a few lines later, calls this same friend a child reveals more about her own character than Nora's.

Nora has been taken care of by first her father and then by her husband. Still, she maintains a sense of resourcefulness. She realizes that her husband's illness can only be cured by specific medical attention that he would never agree to due to cost. Desperately wanting to save his life, she manipulates him in order to save him. She allows him to believe that her father has provided the money, and she accurately predicts that Torvald will accept the money via this means. She knows that he would never approve of her taking out a loan herself because it would be "painfully humiliating for him if he ever found out he was in debt to [her]" and that it would ruin their relationship. Mrs. Linde can't believe the possibility of Nora actually borrowing this money because at this time, "a wife [couldn't] borrow without her husband's consent." Nevertheless, Nora is able to maneuver successfully through the situation and obtain the funds that her husband needs to survive. This shows much more insight and forethought than a child.

Nora is often underestimated in her world, and she eventually proves that she is capable and deserving of more when she decides to leave this world behind—one where she is frequently viewed as little more than a doll to maneuver and manipulate. In the end, Torvald reiterates Mrs. Linde's sentiments: "You blind, incompetent child!" and Nora responds, "I must learn to be competent, Torvald." The strength she has been suppressing, yielding to the desires of the men around her, is evident as she makes her final exit from this house and her marriage.

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In act 1, Mrs. Linde petitions Nora to use her influence over Torvald to get a job for her, and Nora is more than happy to comply. Mrs. Linde then casually calls Nora a "child," because her only trifles concern insignificant household chores. One could consider Mrs. Linde's assessment of Nora in act 1 to be accurate and to appropriately describe Nora's character. Similar to a child, Nora allows her husband to call her by pet names, is forced to hide while eating sweets behind Torvald's back, relies completely on her husband for financial support, and is unaware of the consequences of her actions regarding her decision to commit forgery. Unlike Mrs. Linde, who has lived a challenging life and has made difficult decisions to provide for her family, Nora is child-like in nature and has not had to deal with enormous responsibilities. She does not even recognize the weight of her crime and relies solely on her husband for everything. However, Nora experiences a dramatic transformation at the end of the play, when she discovers Torvald's genuine feelings for her and recognizes that she has been treated like a possession her entire life.

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In addition, Nora is a child because she isn't worldly and doesn't know who she really is apart from her husband and children.  Her identity is completely contingent on being a wife and mother, and even these relationships are either extremely superficial and/or based on deceit.  Ann Marie, the nurse, is the true mother, while Nora plays hide-and-seek with the kids, as if she were their playdate. Nora discusses "play" money and clothes with her husband in a silly, flirtatious matter while her husband calls her several bird "pet names". She never manages to get to the soul of the relationship until she decides to leave it.

She also doesn't realize the consequences behind illegal activity such as forgery.  She feels that Krogstad would never expose her because she did it only with helping her husband in mind.  If she were more mature and wordly, she would understand that the law is the law.

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Although Nora is physically a woman, there is some credence in calling her a child, for she is completely dependant on her husband. She has a child-like energy too, as she is often "flighty and excitable." She also lacks the maturity to face situations and prefers to lie to cover things up when she makes errors. She is bad with money, seemingly not able to manage the funds for which she is responsible. For all of these reasons, it is easy to see why Mr. Linde describes Nora as a child.

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