In A Doll's House, describe Nora's attitude toward her children in Act one. What does this show about her?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In A Doll's House, Nora is preparing for Christmas and is looking forward to giving her children a surprise when they see the Christmas tree that she has bought. Her old friend Christine Linde arrives and Nora expresses her sympathy with Christine as she is a widow and has no children. The fact that Nora tells Christine that she would love to "show" her her own lovely children is very revealing. There is the suggestion that the children are Nora's possessions that she can display to Christine when they return with their nurse. Nora also reveals that she feels tied down by her responsibility, and considers "how free" Christine must feel without any encumbrances (because she has no children, her husband has died, her mother too and her brothers no longer need her help). Nora further reveals how she uses her children more as an accessory than anything as she tells Christine that she could not allow her "blessed darlings" to be "badly- dressed," even when the family was struggling for money. Nora seems to be more concerned about appearances than any potential genuine need. She talks about how she will play and "romp about" with her children in the same sentence as she talks about having "tasteful" things in the home which also indicates Nora's priorities. When the children return from their outing, Nora refers to her baby as a "doll," and when she plays with the children, her excitement is more like that of a child with her toys than a parent entertaining her own children.

Later, after Torvald (without any inkling of Nora's financial burden) suggests that parents may "corrupt" their children, Nora considers the possibility that she may do the same and even suggests to the nurse that she (Nora) should not see so much of her children. This further reveals Nora's lack of appreciation for her real role in the family. 

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A Doll's House

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