A Doll's House (Henrik Ibsen) vs. The Horse Whisperer (Nicolas Evans)

Essay by blondstud06College, UndergraduateA+, March 2004

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In the nineteenth century, also known as the Victorian era, society valued women very insignificantly, regarding them with extreme negativity. Examples of this would be that women were expected to stay home, fulfill domestic duties, and take a subordinate position towards their husbands. Literature of this time embodies and mirrors social issues of women in society. A Doll's House, a play by Henrik Ibsen, while written in this time period, introduces a female protagonist as having her own purposes and goals. The heroine, Nora Helmer, progresses during the course of the play eventually to realize that she must discontinue the role of a "doll," or even the immature person that she is despite her age, and seek out her independence. The Horse Whisperer, a novel by Nicolas Evans, comments on many cultural issues that women face in the twentieth century. By now women have established the same social, economic, and political status as men.

However individuality still remains a serious impediment, and this time it becomes an obstacle to women at a much earlier age. With intensity, protagonist Grace Maclean experiences every emotion imaginable with life. She deals with emotions of confusion, depression, and individualism in a very short period of time. More importantly Evan's shows the transition of Grace from a child to an adult.

In A Doll's House, definite characteristics of the women's subordinate role in a relationship during the nineteenth century are emphasized through Nora's contradicting actions. Her infatuation with luxuries such as expensive Christmas gifts contradicts her resourcefulness in scrounging and buying cheap clothing; her defiance of Torvald by eating forbidden Macaroons contradicts the submission of her opinions, including the decision of which dance outfit to wear, to her husband; and Nora's flirtatious nature contradicts her devotion to her husband. All attention is devoted...