The Doll Escapes the Trap

     In the 1973 movie A Doll's House, directed by Joseph Losey, Jane Fonda starred as Nora. Nora was a woman trapped in her childhood. She was oblivious to the responsibilities that accompany adulthood. This was the only life Nora knew, and she was happy with this. Nora spent her life being dominated by the men in her life. This to Nora was normality.

     In the beginning of the movie A Doll's House, based on Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play, Nora was unmarried. She was under her father's control. She did as he wished. Upon meeting her friend Christine (Delphine Seyrig) to eat, she even stated she would go to meet with her future husband, if her father would allow. Throughout Nora's life, she lived by what her master told her. From the beginning, this master was her father. He picked her husband and gave her to him. For whatever Nora's father said would be what she did. She never thought for herself. She did not have to; she had her father for this.

     Upon Nora's marriage, the torch passed from her father to Helmer, her husband (David Warner). Helmer accepted this responsibility with grace. He knew what he was to do and did it. This was demonstrated in Helmer's lack of trust in Nora in financial affairs. She was given money only as she needed it because he claimed she was a spendthrift. Nora was never given any responsibility by her husband. He was the sole ruler of the house.

     Nora spent most of her life under the direction of men. She never thought for herself and did not take it upon herself to take control of her life. She was what one might say a puppet with strings operated by her father and husband. She never accepted the responsibilities that come with living and adult life because she always had someone to do this for her. This was demonstrated when her childhood friend came to visit. She dragged her friend into her bedroom to talk and giggle as little girls do, instead of playing hostess and entertaining her friend in an adult way. Nora never grew up because she did not have to. She had someone else to live her adult life and liked it that way.

     In the end of A Doll's House, Nora is forced to face the inevitable--adulthood. She had to accept responsibility for her actions. Upon doing so, she realized it was not a bad thing. She took control of her life and broke out of the cycle. She left her husband and took her first step toward living her own life. She became an adult that day.

Millicent Wilkins

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