How does "A Doll's House" portray unequal gender hierarchies between Nora and Helmer through language?

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We see the gender hierarchies almost immediately in the way Torvald speaks to Nora. He asks, "Is that my lark twittering there?" and "Is it the squirrel frisking around?" from the next room. First, he calls her diminutive pet names like lark and squirrel, and these sounds like names a parent might call a child, certainly not one equal partner to another. They seem to indicate the way Torvald thinks of her, like a child. Further, he asks if it is his lark, subtly implying his sense of ownership of his wife as well. A bit later, he calls her "my little spendthrift," indicating the same sense of ownership with the word my as well as diminishing her with the adjective little. It is clear that Torvald thinks of her as less than he, and this value is certainly informed by her gender.

Nora is, at least in the beginning, depicted in a childlike way through her dialogue (and stage direction). For example, when she is trying to tell him that she just wants money from him for Christmas, she "Play[s] with his coat-buttons, without looking him in the face," and says,

If you really want to give me something, you might, you know -- you might --

She acts rather childishly, kind of coyly and flirtatiously, overtly manipulating him the way a child might. A woman wishing to present herself as an equal would likely not ask for something in this way. Torvald says, "Well? Out with it!" and Nora "quickly" makes her request. Again, he seems like the authority while she seems to have none at all.

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