From the beginning of act I of A Doll's House, Torvald calls Nora several pet names. What do these names suggest about Torvald's perception of his wife and his marriage?

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Torvald's use of pet names for his wife, Nora, shows that he thinks of her as more of an object than a person. She is something cute and small: something which ought to obey him as her master, unquestionably. It is as though he wants her to be a well-trained pet rather than a person: she should sit up, speak, or beg when it suits him. It also shows how little he thinks of her duties and responsibilities as a wife and mother. As she is preparing their home and gifts for Christmas, he asks if that is his "lark twittering" or "the squirrel frisking around." He thinks of her activities as no more important than twittering or frisking.

These diminutive pet names also show how much he feels that he condescends to her; she is beneath him in status, power, and presence. When he tells her that they will not be borrowing any money to make a more cheerful holiday, she acquiesces right away. However, he replies, "Come come; my little lark mustn't droop her wings like that. What? Is my squirrel in...

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