Torvald calls Nora a “little creature” in act 1. The couple is talking about an upcoming party they are attending where they will have to wear costumes. Nora asks Torvald to decide what she should dress up as and asks him to plan her costume for her. This is one of the many times throughout the play in which Nora strokes her husband’s ego to make him feel powerful and masculine. He responds to this by saying:
Ah, is my stubborn little creature calling for a lifeguard?
When Torvald calls Nora stubborn here, he is subtly pointing out his frustration with the fact that Nora frequently tries to do things by herself and go against his wishes. His use of the phrase “little creature” is also demeaning, and the nickname is one of many he uses for Nora that make her seem inferior to him. Similar to the way he calls Nora “my squirrel” and “my little skylark,” calling her his “little creature” is a way for Torvald to make himself seem more powerful than his wife.
Torvald also calls Nora “little creature” in act 3 when the couple is speaking to Mrs. Linden. Torvald is taking Nora’s shawl off and asks Mrs. Linden:
Isn’t she exquisite? Everyone said so. But she’s dreadfully obstinate, dear little creature. What’s to be done with her?