HELMER: Is that my little lark twittering out there?
NORA: Yes, it is!
HELMER. Is it my little squirrel bustling about?
NORA. Yes! . . .
HELMER. Nora! [Goes up to her and takes her playfully by the ear] The same little featherhead! . . . But now tell me, you extravagant little person, what would you like for yourself? . . . You can't deny it, my dear little Nora. [Puts his arm round her waist.] It's a sweet little spendthrift, but she uses up a deal of money. One would hardly believe how expensive such little persons are! . . . You are an odd little soul. (A Doll's House, Act 1)
In the opening scene of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, Helmer uses the word "little" sixteen times to describe his wife, Nora. She's his "little lark," his "little squirrel," his "little person," his "little featherhead." She's his little doll. He uses similar endearments to describe her throughout the play. At no time during the play does Helmer treat Nora as a real, living person.
Although Nora's attitude toward...
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