Is A Doll's House dated? Could there be a Nora in North America today?Is A Doll's House dated? Could there be a Nora in North America today?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The play in relation to the role of women in society is dated, at least in terms of American women. Nora's crisis results from the fact that she was unable to get a bank loan in her own name because she was not a man. Women, it was assumed, were not capable of making financial decisions, handling money, or dealing with financial transactions. Such weighty matters could only be managed by their fathers or husbands.

You asked your question in terms of North America. I am not familiar with Canadian law, but I'm sure Canadian women enjoy the same rights and privileges now enjoyed by American women. Unlike Nora, American women can pursue an education and have a career, if they wish. Statistically, they do not earn as much money as do their male counterparts doing the same work, but American women can handle their own financial affairs in all respects. They can save money, borrow money, and invest money--all in their own names. The social and financial freedoms enjoyed by American women were totally unknown to Nora.

There probably are women in the United States (I hope not many) who live in the kind of repressive marriage as did Nora. If so, at least their role in such a marriage is not dictated by civil law.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can assure you that I have seen enough cases which sadly show that a woman such as Nora still exists somewhere out there. In my case, I work closely with many young military wives. There have been many cases when they are forced to marry very young because they do not want their boyfriends (who are about to join the service) to leave without them. Fair enough. However, we encounter two persons about to undergo a major change: One will be a housewife (maybe still as a teenager) and the other will be a soldier.  We experience a high volume of divorces and lots of extramarital affairs in the military, perhaps because the two persons in the marriage are simply not in the same sheet of music= the problem is that, by the time they face the problem, the woman or spouse is often used to the Army Life, which can save you a lot of money on insurance, housing, food, and is a safe pay career. So, they sometimes prefer to endure the cheating and the abuse just so they can maintain a lifestyle which has given them almost everything at the expence of solidity in the marriage. I was one of them, for a time, until I left. It was so hard it was not even funny. It takes a huge toll to leave a comfort zone even if its chaotic.

timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Would any woman who is totally dependent on her husband's salary not be similar to Nora?  I don't think you'll find a character/caricature like Nora in our world, but you will find elements of Nora and her situation in many relationships.  The violence in DH is not physical, but emotional; would some of the physically/abusive relationships not resemble Nora's?  And what about trophy wives? 

The play MAY be dated in the sense that Nora seems so extreme that today's people may not be able to catch the realtionship.  But I just taught the play to an adult class, and one of them (a man) got so incensed by Nora's behavior(s) that he threw his popcorn in the trash and stormed out of the room ... perhaps it's more relevant than I suspected (although he got angry because he saw something in the play that reminded him of his divorced wife, and I'm sure it wasn't pretty).

atramutolo | Student

A Doll's House can only be judged as "dated" when considering the laws and restraints placed upon females during the Victorian era. Nora can represent anyone, woman or man, due to her struggle and oppression. Everybody, in one way or another, is judged or repressed, whether it is by a single person or many. Also, Nora's hope for a "miracle" is completely universal. Everyone can relate to her blind hope, even though all readers, and most likely Nora, knew that Torvald would not stand up for her. This last tiny strand of optimism has been felt by everyone, no matter how impossible the desired "miracle" may be.

hayley-deforest | Student

There could defiantly be a Nora in North America today. A Doll's House can span numerous time periods. Nora's position come directly from Torvald and her own actions. Torvald is condescending and she allows herself to be manipulated. This could just as easily happen in the present. There are a ton of situations similar to Nora's. Some are more drastic and others are on a smaller scale. It is also common for people to make rash decisions, even with marriage. And many people feel the need to discover themselves/

alexandertom05 | Student

I feel this question is like asking, "Are there people like Odysseus or Oedipus today?  Of course there are - society changes, people change, but history and past actions repeat each other.  We are, by fault, doomed to possess a quirk.  Century old writers wrote to satirize their current state of being, but the 21st century has yet to escape women oppression, prideful, arrogant men, and the sins of our father.  Literature has the amazing effect of relation; no matter how old a piece of work is, someone can relate, if no epitomize that character.  Yes, obviously, there are "Noras" in North America, and the answer to, "Is A Doll's House dated," is a very blunt, no.

victoriabravo | Student

There are plenty of "Noras" in society. A Nora-like character is anyone who "outgrows" their life, and must leave everything behind to pursue happiness. These "Noras" usually occur in young marriages, where one spouse matures at a different rate than the other.

sawyer6938 | Student
Is A Doll's House dated? Could there be a Nora in North America today?

Is A Doll's House dated? Could there be a Nora in North America today?

I do think  there are many "noras" in today's society. Nora represents anyone that strives to live a different life. There are many people unsatisfied with their current lives and they need to take that one step to make it better for themselves. Although there may not be any situations specifically like Nora, there are many instances that closely relate to what Nora went through.

sixdabomb | Student

I can think of a perfect example of a Nora in North America - the women in the FLDS, and specifically, Carolyn Jessop. For those who don't know, the FLDS is the Fundamental church of Latter Day Saints; they are separate from the present-day Mormon church because they believe in polygamy. Carolyn Jessop was a member of the FLDS who fled from the sect because she felt oppressed by the sect's demeaning and sexist practices. My understanding of the FLDS is women are made the property of men once they married, much as women were in the time of A Doll's House. They are oppressed and stripped of their basic human rights just as Nora is. So no, A Doll's House is not dated, and there are plenty moder-day Noras in North America.

thainlen | Student

Of course there are still Nora's in todays society. This is a timeless story with timeless characters and themes. Nowadays it is more likely that there are men in Nora's position as well as just women.

athimsen23 | Student

The character of Nora could be found in today's modern age, but in a few different ways.  Obviously, you do not see the extent of male ownership of women like we see in Torvald and Nora; however, this suppression is still present.  The facade that Nora puts on for Torvald is used everyday by people trying to impress or please their peers.  This personality that is presented to people is considered the persona, and their true self is known as the shadow when speaking in terms of Jungian theory.  These two faces were utilized then and now.

jtrama | Student

I can only assume there are Nora's in North America today.  While her issues stemmed from trouble with the law that we dont have i modern society, much of Nora's being was suppressed by Torvald.  This was a situation where Nora was trying to be a trophy wife in order to receive the love from someone that they love.  Since Nora's frustrations partly came from issues in marriage, the opportunity for a modern Nora definitely exists