When Kristine Linde arrives at the Helmer's home, she is destitute and desperate, having lost her husband and her mother. She has returned with the goal of procuring employment and hopes that Torvald can find her a position at the bank. While Nora offers to ask her husband, she displays some resentment to her old friend, accusing her of patronizing her because she has not suffered want as she has.
NORA. You patronize me, Kristine, and that's not fair. You're proud that you worked so long and so hard for your mother.
While Nora puts on a facade of bravado, telling Kristine that she was able to obtain money which she used to sve her husband's life by getting him to Italy where he could recover from a life-threatening illness. Further, she is proud to inform Kristine that she has repaid her loan for this money. But, hers is a charade of independence while Kristine's is real, although she is penurious. And, Kristine's past is clear, but Nora's returns to threaten her security with the arrival of Krogstad, who knows the truth about Nora's procurement of the funds for the Italian trip: Nora has forged her father's signature upon a loan.
Thus, Mrs. Linde attains self-definition and gains some financial security with her new position at Helmer's bank. When Krogstad re-enters her life, she is able to deal with him as an independent woman and equal. However, Nora has the secret of how she has obtained the twelve hundred dollars that she must hide from her husband, and is, therefore, yet the repressed wife. Furthermore, when it is revealed that she committed her forgery in order to save her Helmer's life, he yet rejects her and vilifies her character and, angered, he worries only of his reputation, calling her a wretch and a criminal, telling her,
HELMER. You have ruined all my happiness...To go down so miserably, to be destroyed--all because of an irresponsible woman!
Nora realizes that her husband has not truly loved her, and she also finds herself questioning "who is right, society or I." When Helmer justifies himself by declaring that nobody "sacrifices his honor for his love," Nora decides to leave him. She departs, bereft.
On the other hand, Kristine Linde, who is a foil to Nora, recovers her life. When her old love Krogstad returns, Kristine initiates a conversation about Nora in order to help her old friend; she convinces Krogstad to retrieve his damaging letter, and she offers to marry him so that his children will have a mother.
MRS. LINDE. I have learned common sense. Life and hard necessity have taught me that.
Speaking to Krogstad as an equal, Kristine displays her confidence and sense of self as she suggests that "two shipwrecked people" get together. She candidly tells him she is alone in the world and feels emptiness; she asks him to give her someone for whom she can work. Like Nora, she displays courage, but the results of her act benefit her and Krogstad while Nora's departure does not benefit Helmer, and it gives her little but her independence as she loses her home and children.