A Doll's House Introduction
by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House book cover
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Introduction

So you’re going to teach Henrik Ibsen's A Doll’s House, a classic play that has been a mainstay in English classes for generations. Whether it’s the first or hundredth time you escort students through the text, some teaching tips will help ensure that the experience is rewarding for everyone, including you. Studying A Doll’s House will encourage students to understand the power of theater to comment, critique, and impact contemporary society. This guide highlights the text's most salient aspects to keep in mind before you begin teaching Ibsen’s provocative realist drama.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Publication Date: 1879 
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:
  • Approximate Word Count: 25,300 
  • Author: Henrik Ibsen 
  • Country of Origin: Norway 
  • Genre: Realist Drama 
  • Literary Period: 19th-century Realism 
  • Conflict: Person vs. Person, Person vs. Society 
  • Setting: The Helmer household, Norway 
  • Structure: Three-Act Stage Drama 
  • Mood: Realistic, Inspirational


Texts That Go Well With A Doll’s House

Anna Karenina is a realist novel by Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. The narrative is told in eight parts and will force readers to once again consider the conflict between societal values and personal desire. 

Hedda Gabler is another play by Henrik Ibsen. The play contains many parallels with A Doll’s House: chiefly, its concern with protagonist Hedda and her struggle to find independence and identity in a world governed by strict gender roles. 

Pride and Prejudice is a romance novel by Jane Austen. The story follows protagonist Elizabeth Bennet and her developing love affair with Mr. Darcy. Central to the narrative are themes of social class, wealth, gender roles, and family. 

The Cherry Orchard is a play by Russian playwright Anton Chekov. The play follows an aristocratic Russian landowner who is faced with financial strife and forced to sell her family estate. Chekov deals skillfully with concerns of class, wealth, gender roles, and modernity. 

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood. Events take place in a world where women have been stripped of all rights, dictated by supposedly Christian “family” values. The more modern novel may provide a useful counterpoint for students struggling to connect with an older setting.