Describe Nora's attitude toward her children in act 1 of A Doll's House. What does this show about her?

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Nora seems to indulge her children but not in a bad way. She addresses the maid in her first speech, saying,

Hide the Christmas Tree carefully. . . . Be sure the children do not see it until this evening, when it is dressed.

She is anxious to make their...

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Nora seems to indulge her children but not in a bad way. She addresses the maid in her first speech, saying,

Hide the Christmas Tree carefully. . . . Be sure the children do not see it until this evening, when it is dressed.

She is anxious to make their holiday really special, and she does not want to spoil it by allowing them to see their tree before she has a chance to decorate and beautify it. Nora also gleefully tells her husband, Torvald, all about the toys and gifts she has purchased for the children.

Look, here is a new suit for Ivar, and a sword; and a horse and a trumpet for Bob; and a doll and dolly's bedstead for Emmy.

Nora is truly excited to make her children happy, to give them the sense of Christmas magic and joy. She feels it herself. Nora seems to pride herself on making her family feel happy and contented, and she is especially distraught by Torvald's description of the affect an unscrupulous parent, especially a mother, can have on her kids. After he frightens her with a description of how the children in such a house breathe in "the germs of evil," she will not allow the nurse to let the children in to be with her. She goes "pale with terror" at the thought of "Deprav[ing] [her] little children" and "Poison[ing] [her] home." Nora clearly seems to love her children and care deeply about their welfare and happiness.

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One of the best attributes that Nora has as a character is that she is quite devoted to her children. Even when she ends up leaving her entire family at the end of the play, it is clear that she gave them all the love that she could give. 

The interesting aspect about Nora's motherhood traits is that she treats her kids like playthings, not much differently than the way that she, herself, has been treated by her father, as well as by her husband.

Nora: How fresh and well you look! [...]You are a clever boy, Ivar. Let me take her for a little, Anne. My sweet little baby doll![Takes the baby from the MAID and dances it up and down.]

Nora is as child-like, playful, and energetic as her own children. She actually is able to shift from her adult-self and bring herself down to their level, connecting with them in many ways by playing, baby-talking, and laughing.

Come, let us have a game! [...]NORA hides under the table, the children rush in and out for her, but do not see her; they hear her smothered laughter [...] She crawls forward and pretends to frighten them.

Nora's behavior can be described as childish, but she is also quite affectionate with her children. She would even request to their nurse, whose job was to look after the children, to leave the kids with Nora so that she can enjoy them more. 

Therefore, a lot can be said about Nora's behavior as a mother in Act I. First, we can ascertain that she undeniably loves them, admires them, and wants the best for them. Second, we can conclude that, with her behavior, she perpetuates the "doll paradigm" that exists in the household, the one where she is her husband's play thing, by treating her children in the same manner: as her own play things. Third, Nora seems to just be unable to act like an adult, overall. The playful behavior that she exhibits with the children is the same behavior she exhibits with her husband, with Dr. Rank, and with Linde. Even Linde, herself, acknowledges that Nora has never quite grown up.

Therefore, it will take a huge event for Nora to realize what is her reality, in order for her to change. We know that this is exactly what happens in the end.

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