I have to do a psychoanalytical approach essay on Torvald Helmer from A Doll's House, and his narcissistic personality. I need a topic sentence outline and a thesis statement.

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The psycho-analytical approach was made famous by Sigmund Freud who popularized the concept of early childhood experiences and the unconscious mind being responsible for our actions, even much later in life. Unresolved issues leave a person fixated on, in Torvald Helmer's case, the responsibility of the parents for the actions of the child, even as an adult.

In considering the topic sentence outline, we are aware of Torvald's hypocrisy as he presents the face that is socially respectable whilst all the time thinking his wife is inferior to him, "poor little Nora," always talking down to her even to the point of curbing her fondness for macaroons. Torvald believes that Dr Rank is a victim of his father's failings, Krogstad's problems obviously started in the home. A corrupt mother will render her children corrupt; even Nora's own father. Torvald has failed to recognize that he has his own inresolved childhood issues!

To combine the psychoanalytical approach to Torvald's narcissictic personality in the writing of a thesis statement, you could consider

  • Torvald's inability to see beyond his own "house" and perceive the world at large, together with his clouded view of right and wrong, lead A Doll's House to its unfortunate end: life without Nora.
  • The unresolved issues that haunt Torvald Helmer lead to an ironic conclusion. Due to his inablilty to learn from his own mistakes, he ensures that his children will suffer the fate that he is most anxious to prevent: a life without their mother and the resultant disgrace that will render.
  • Could Nora ever learn to live with her egotistical husband after he has failed her so badly? 

To further develop the topic sentence outline focus on Torvald's hypocrisy. Build on this and its relation to your thesis statement; for example, Torvald believes his wife's place is looking after the children, to the point of her behaving like one - a place "unbearable for anybody except mothers" he says as he ushers Mrs Linde away from Nora and the children.

Another example is the rules that Torvald establishes by which the house must function. Torvald does not think that Nora is capable of making decisions - and she allows him to think this - She is his "pretty little pet" so he sees rules as the way to ensure that he can control his family and ensure decency.His children's futures will be secured if they live according to his rules - the ultimate narcissist!

As their lives begin to disintegrate Torvald is quick to see the effect this will have on him. He doesn't stop at blaming Nora, no longer his "little squirrel " but nothing more than a "featherbrained woman!” but he goes on to say that having ruined his entire happiness, she cannot be trsusted with the children.

Torvald has had such an effect on Nora that she almost believes him - which may have contributed to her decision to leave. Not only did Torvald think she was unworthy but so did she! She is his "doll wife" just as she was her father's "doll child." So Torvald gets to blame her father for Nora's supposed inappropriate behavior after all. And still he remains faultless!


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A Doll's House

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