A BROKEN DOLL
As a young wife, Nora Torvald had the ideal image of a happy family. She was young
enough that she had the energy to keep her older husband happy, and yet was too young
to understand the dynamics of a mature and honest relationship. Although, Nora enjoyed
playing house, she was expected to fulfil the role of a wife without any problems. She
had left the comforts of home to marry her husband Torvald Helmer. However, due to
the cultural and social expectations Nora Torvald could not be the perfect wife.
The role of a wife according to Ibsen was to marry, make babies and cause no problems.
However, Nora Helmer was expected to fulfil this role without any guidance, support or
encouragement from anybody. For instance, in the beginning of the novel, Nora had to
hide a snack of macaroons from her husband so that he would not find out.
Torvald Helmer treated his wife like a doll by always referring to her as a "little squirrel"
or "my little sweet tooth". Nora was not able to become an individual as she quickly
moved from her father's home into the role of a wife. To be the wife of an important
businessman was a privilege in 1897. Nora had taken advantage of that role and aided her
husband by taking him on a trip to improve his health. In order for this to happen though,
Nora had to obtain money under false pretenses without letting her husband know where
the money had come from. Nora had obtained money through a Mr. Krogstad, who we
are led to believe does not have the most honest of dealings during this time period. Nora
essentially had made a deal that she could not turn her back...