A Doll's House or a Bird's Cage?

     A title is one of the most important elements of a novel, play, or film. It gives the reader or viewer some idea of what the story he or she is going to read, or see, will be about. A good title can capture a person's interest in a work, and the title alone can determine the success or failure of a novel or film. That is why it is so important for a title to truly reflect the most important aspect of the work.

     Regarding the 1973 film directed by Patrick Garland, I found that A Doll's House was a wonderful, accurate title. As for the 1879 play, by Henrik Ibsen, and the 1973 Joseph Losey movie, A Doll's House did not seem to be as appropriate. I feel a more suiting title for these two works would have been A Birdcage.

     Garland's film made a much better analogy of Nora's (Claire Bloom) life to the film's title. In this film, Torvald (Anthony Hopkins) was constantly comparing his wife to a precious little doll. Nora even told Torvald in the end that he had played games with her as she had done with the children, whom she had treated like little dolls of her own.

     Losey's film and Ibsen's play seemed to focus more on comparing Nora to a bird than a doll. In these two works, Torvald was always calling Nora his little skylark or his little songbird. Nora (Jane Fonda) even compared herself to a bird in the opening scene of Losey's film. She said that she felt like a bird flying while skating. In this scene, she was preparing herself to fly away from her father s house into her new husband's home. Later in the film, Torvald (David Warner) crushes Nora's wings and causes her to have to learn to fly again. He says to her, "Up and down you go, like a little bird learning to fly." Much to Torvald's surprise, his little skylark did learn to fly again. In the end, Nora did something a doll could not do; she opened the door to her cage and flew away . . . without looking back.

Regina Clark

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