What is the significance of the nanny's character in A Doll's House?

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At the beginning of act II, Nora questions the nursemaid, Anne-Marie, about Nora's children and how they are bearing up not having Nora in their room to play with them. She asks Anne-Marie how Anne-Marie could have had "the heart to put [her] own child out among strangers," not considering the lives and plight of so many working-class women who are forced to make such difficult decisions with regularity. One must have food to eat and a warm place to live, and so one must have money to pay for these things. Anne-Marie was compelled by a desire to survive.

Anne-Marie describes her younger self as a "poor girl" who had gotten "into trouble" (which is a euphemism for getting pregnant whilst unmarried—a very egregious social error of the time period). Anne's sexual partner was a "wicked man" who, she says, "didn't do a single thing" to help her during this time, and so she was forced to fend for herself. In other words, though this man impregnated her, he refused to help care for either her or the child. Clearly, her child was raised in safety, as the girl grew up and has written to Anne-Marie several times since then.

Anne-Marie's story and her presence shows that the economic realities that face women during this era negatively affect all women: the more affluent as well as the working class. Women are forced to make terrible choices in order to survive, like Anne did, and it is tragic that she could not both keep her child and make a living which would support them. Women are forced to make terrible choices, even when they do so in service to their husbands; Nora is incredibly well-meaning, if misguided and naive. Because of the inequality of the sexes in this time and place, the women are put in pitiable positions by their relative powerlessness. Anne-Marie helps to show that this does not just apply to Nora but to women in other segments of society as well.

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Nora's nanny is a confidante to Nora. She is also a different sort of woman from Nora herself—or at least from the way Nora outwardly appears and acts at the start of the drama. The crucial point is when Nora suddenly asks her if the children would forget their mother if she went away.

This is when Nora has already considered what her fate might be if she decided to (or had to) pack up and leave her husband Torvald. She realizes it's possible that Krogstad will reveal her "crime" if Torvald dismisses him from his post at the bank, as Nora knows he's intending to do. Krogstad has already threatened her that if he's kicked out, she's coming with him.

Nora's nanny, Anne-Marie, is a woman who herself years earlier had to leave her own child in order to take the position of nanny to Nora. The father of her child, Anne-Marie says, was of no use to her. In other words, her own life, in spite of her subordinate role, has essentially been one of independence and non-reliance on a man, unlike Nora's life of more or less complete subservience to Torvald.

The scene in which Anne-Marie discusses this with Nora foreshadows the denouement in which Nora actually makes the same decision Anne-Marie tells her that she had made for herself in becoming an independent woman. At this point we have no way of knowing that Nora will do this, and Anne-Marie's answer to Nora's question, "Has your daughter forgotten you?" is something of a reassurance to Nora that it is possible to cut Torvald loose (or to cut herself loose from him) and not destroy her own life and relationship to her children, even in this constricted nineteenth-century world.

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Anne-Marie serves as a character foil of sorts to Nora, yet ultimately her story brings certainty to the convictions of women.

Anne-Marie began her early years of womanhood caught in a predicament of her own. She got mixed up with a "slippery fish" who got her pregnant and then "didn't do a thing for [her]." In the late 1800s, this was extremely dishonorable, and combined with the fact that Anne-Marie had precious few opportunities available to her in this historical context to make her own money, she needed a solution. She found it in becoming Nora's nursemaid and being a mother that Nora needed. In order to provide this solution for herself, she had to relinquish her own biological child.

Anne-Marie devoted herself to Nora through her childhood and now devotes herself to the care of Nora's children. Nora recognizes this devotion—a devotion that she also realizes she cannot provide herself by the end of the play. She tells her husband that in leaving, she is putting the children into better hands (Anne-Marie's) than her own.

Anne-Marie, a woman of a lower socioeconomic status, made a choice that she felt was necessary to rescue herself. Nora, a woman of fair advantage, chooses to leave it all, including her husband and children, to rescue herself from a loveless marriage and (she feels) a meaningless life.

Anne-Marie's character shows that the sacrifices women make transcend class and generations but that beauty can come through difficult choices.

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In A Doll's House, a play by Henrik Ibsen, Anne-Marie is the nanny of the protagonist's children. Anne-Marie was also the nurse who helped raise the protagonist, Nora, whilst she was a child. It is revealed that Anne-Marie had put up her own child for adoption, or simply left the child to the care of family members, in order to raise Nora when she was young. She stated that her decision stemmed from the necessity of making money.

Anne-Marie is the angelic archetype in the story, who represents the sacrifices that one has to make in order to secure financial well-being. This is a reflection of Nora's own actions in the story. However, the difference between Nora and Anne-Marie is that the former was never taught to think for herself by her father (which she bitterly laments by the end of the play), whereas Anne-Marie represents the working-class ethos of self-sufficiency. However, in the end, Nora redeems herself by proving that she made the right decision for herself and for her husband.

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