Why is the play titled A Doll's House?

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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In this male-dominated society, women were treated as inferior property. They went from their father's home to their husband's home and were expected to behave in a certain way. Torvald, Nora's husband, treats Nora like a child, a little doll. He has disparaging names for her, such as "little lark" or "little featherbrain". Torvald makes all decisions for Nora and establishes rules for her to follow. She's expected to play the part of the "little woman" who does as she's told, expressing no opinion and displaying no intelligence. Nora even behaves like a spoiled child because this is what Torvald expects of her.  Nora is an extension of her husband, known only as Torvald's wife who reflects his values and beliefs. As such, the title then refers to Torvald's treatment of his wife as a doll and their home as a "doll's house".

Nora's change occurs when she sees her husband's true nature. Torvald throws a huge fit, displaying his own childish nature, when he reads the first letter from Krogstad. He's only concerned about himself, and Nora refuses to accept his domination any longer. She walks out of the "doll's house" to establish herself as a woman who will be recognized for what she does and what she thinks.

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jomabo's profile pic

jomabo | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

It is rather easy to overlook the title of the play, but that apostophe and the "s" make all the difference.  The fact that it is a doll's house instead of a dollhouse shows that the story is about Nora and the events of her life.  Since Nora represents a doll in this play the title is clearly referring to her.  Also, Nora treats her home as if it were a dollhouse.  She likes to play and dress up her children as if they were dolls and she also has the nescessities such as the Christmas tree to complete her very own "dollhouse".

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