In what ways is Nora, from A Doll's House, childlike and in what ways does she show herself to be a thoughtful adult?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nora from A Doll's House, does have a conflicting personality. She enjoys the attention of her husband and his patronizing treatment of his "little squirrel."  Even when Torvald talks to her in the third person- "When did the squirrel get home?" - she is not perturbed. Nora's actions as she calls her husband to come and see the gifts she has bought, wiping her mouth to ensure he does not know she has been eating macaroons, reveal her need to please him and receive his encouragement, much like a small child is enthused by parental praise. Their playful bantering; he even pulls her ear; shows his superiority and paternal nature. Nora gets very excited when Torvald offers her money, to replenish what she has spent, clearly showing her dependence on him.  

At the same time, she has had to make a life-altering decision without her husband's assistance, or even approval by taking out a loan. This reveals that Nora is not the "little  featherbrain" that Torvald likes to think she is. It has been difficult for her, and especially keeping it a secret for so many years - until Christina's arrival. Nora has made sacrifices and, above all, managed this situation by herself, displaying her ability to behave as an adult, even if her efforts may have been misguided and certainly will be misunderstood. She knew her husband needed her help and risked everything for him which is one of the reasons she cannot understand his reaction when, at the end, he is ashamed of her and not proud of her  -prompting her to make another adult decision , by leaving. This may not be a "thoughtful" decision as she will leave her children behind but, for Nora, it is the only decision.