In A Doll's House, Nora recalls her father on a number of occassions.  What relevance do these recollections have to the development of the theme? 

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One of the most significant themes of the text has to do with women's dependence on men. Further, inequality among men and women actually produces profoundly negative effects on everyone, not just women. If Nora were able to take out a loan without a man's signature, she would not have...

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One of the most significant themes of the text has to do with women's dependence on men. Further, inequality among men and women actually produces profoundly negative effects on everyone, not just women. If Nora were able to take out a loan without a man's signature, she would not have felt compelled to forge her father's. Were she allowed to act on her own, legally, she would not have resorted to illegal means. She knows her husband would never consent to borrow the money from Krogstad, and she wants to protect her father from the truth of Torvald's illness and their financial situation, because he himself was so ill, and so Nora does what she feels she must. She asks,

Do you mean to tell me that a daughter has no right to spare her dying father trouble and anxiety?—that a wife has no right to save her husband's life?

This situation ends up hurting her, certainly, but also eventually upsets her husband so much that he acts cruelly and irrevocably damages their relationship. Had Nora been her husband's legal equal, she would not have committed a crime.

Later, once Krogstad has nullified his contract with Nora and Torvald is restored to good will toward her, he cannot imagine that she thinks about serious things. In response to his claim, she says,

You have never understood me.—I have had great injustice done me, Torvald; first by father, and then by you . . . While I was at home with father, he used to tell me all his opinions, and I held the same opinions. If I had others I said nothing about them, because he wouldn't have liked it. He used to call me his doll-child, and played with me as I played with my dolls.

She feels that she has been treated as a doll, first by her father and then by her husband. She has been deprived of learning how to think or develop or feel as a person, and she has, rather, been controlled and played with by the men in her life. This deprivation leads her to forge her father's signature, creating an untenable situation in her marriage (for which her husband blames her rather than the repressive system that deprives her of legal means of helping him), which results in the dissolution of the Helmer family. Everyone suffers.

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In order to save her husband's life, Nora, in A Doll's House, is required to loan money and, due to it being illegal for a married woman to borrow money without consent, she deceives Torvald by forging her father's signature and taking the loan illegally. Torvald thinks she inherited the money and never questions his "little spendthrift" regarding the money. The theme of deception is reinforced by reference to Nora's father and also society's perception of acceptable behavior. The sexist theme runs throughout, Nora's father being a contributor, despite not featuring in the play.

Nora and Torvald's first discussion about Nora's father revolves around his questionable dealings and poor handling of money. Nora wishes she could have inherited some of "Papa's" qualities but Torvald concentrates only on his ability to squander money. Torvald appears to "forgive" Nora for her spending habits and 

One must take you as you are. It's in the blood. Yes, Nora, that sort of thing is hereditary."

It seems Nora is powerless to change perception although she has attempted to improve her family's circumstances but has had to lie and keep secrets. Deception on Nora's part is evident but Torvald is also deceiving himself. Nora tells Christine how her father died around the time of the loan so it was not necessary for her to admit her deceit. 

Nora recognizes that she left her father's house only to be treated the same way in her husband's house. Her father treated her like a "doll-child" and between them 

You and father have done me a great wrong. It is your fault that my life has come to nothing.

Having believed that Torvald would understand Nora's motives, the plot is further developed as it has become clear to Nora that each generation is the same. The male-dominated society where appearances are everything has prevented her from developing any personality of her own. Even her ideas, if they differed from her father, were stifled and the same with her husband. Nora can only hope for some sense of individuality if she leaves her husband and children. 

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