At the beginning of act 2 of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, Nora gives possible clues as to her state of mind. Nora's nurse, Anne-Marie, comes into the room with a large box containing a dress that Nora plans to wear to a "fancy-dress ball" the next evening. Torvald had the dress made for her in Capri, during their trip to Italy for Torvald's convalescence.
The dress is actually more like a costume. As Nora explains to Mrs. Linde a little later in the scene, "Torvald wants me to go as a Neapolitan fisher-girl, and dance the Tarantella that I learnt at Capri."
Right now, however, Nora is not pleased to see it. It appears that the dress "is very much in want of mending," as the nurse says.
NORA. I should like to tear it into a hundred thousand pieces.
Nora wants to escape her role as Torvald's dancing dress-up doll, the role she's played as his wife for the past eight years.
The dress also reminds Nora of the loan she arranged to pay for their trip to Italy, where the dress was made for her. Krogstad is trying to blackmail her: if Nora doesn't intercede for him with Torvald and get him reinstated in his position at the bank, he will reveal to Torvald that Nora forged her father's signature on the loan papers.
Nora has been agitated about it all morning. She's been pacing around the room and constantly checking at the door to see if a messenger, a letter, or Krogstad himself might come to her home.
There's something else on Nora's mind. Nora is talking with the nurse about Nora's children and how they haven't seen her very much lately.
NORA. Do you think they would forget their mother if she went away altogether?
Anne-Marie is shocked by the question, but Nora wants to know something else. She wants to know how it feels to abandon a child, which Anne-Marie did so that she could be employed as a nurse for Nora.
NORA. I have often wondered about—how could you have the heart to put your own child out among strangers?
NURSE. I was obliged to, if I wanted to be little Nora's nurse.
The nurse explains that she did it because she was getting a better situation for herself, and it was necessary to give her daughter away.
NORA. [putting her arms round the nurse's neck] Dear old Anne, you were a good mother to me when I was little.
NURSE. Little Nora, poor dear, had no other mother but me.
NORA. And if my little ones had no other mother, I am sure you would—
Nora doesn't finish the thought. She hasn't yet decided to leave her husband and her children, and perhaps she thinks that it's premature to ask Anne-Marie to take care of her children until she's absolutely made up her mind to leave them.