Essay questions and answers on A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen - Set 2
1. Juana is the pillar of strength for her family. Show the validity of this statement using illustrations from The Pearl by John Steinbeck.
The society in A Doll’s House is portrayed as one that inhibits personal freedom. Show the truth of this statement using Nora. ( 20 mks)
In the text A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, the community prevents/restrains an individual from exercising liberty in their day to day lives as seen when Nora has to work secretly and when she is unable to make independent decisions.
- The society inhibits married women from taking a loan without their husband’s consent.
During the first year of Nora and Helmer’s marriage, Helmer overworks himself and becomes dreadfully ill. The doctors come to Nora and tell her that Helmer is in a dangerous condition and that they need to live in the South for him to recover. Nora tries all means to persuade Helmer to take them to South without success. She tells him how much she wants to live broad like other young wives. She tries tears and entreaties and that he ought to remember the condition she is in. She hints to him that he might raise a loan and this makes him nearly angry. Helmer calls Nora a thoughtless woman and tells her he cannot indulge in her whims and caprices. With no other option left, Nora devices a way out of the difficulty by taking a loan of 250 pounds from Krogstad without Helmer’s consent. This is against the law as Mrs Linde reminds her that a wife cannot borrow without her husband’s consent. In the process of keeping this as a secret from Helmer, Nora suffers anxiety to the point of contemplating suicide. When Helmer learns about this, he abuses Nora and forbids her from raising her own children. Nora is forced to leave her marriage.
- Nora has to work in secret in order to repay the loan that she took for Helmer’s treatment.
Nora acquired a loan of 250 pounds through Krogstad which she had to pay in installments. Nora admits to Mrs Linde that it had not been easy for her to meet the engagement on time and many a times she has been at her wits end. she further admits that it has been always so dreadfully difficult to manage the instalments. She has had to save a little here and there by not spending more than half of Torvald gives her for shopping/housekeeping/ she has had always bought the simplest and cheapest things but it was often very hard on her. She had had to go to an extent of devising ways of earning money. last winter she locked herself up doing copying work until quit late at night and desperately tired but it she felt tremendous pleasure to work and earn money. She declares that it felt like a man.
- Nora lacks financial freedom.
After the Christmas shopping Nora is excited to inform Torvalds what she had got for the children and the maid. However, Torvald is quick to reprimand her by calling her a spendthrift. He asks her if she has been out wasting money again. He tells her that they can’t spent money recklessly. He calls her a featherhead when Nora proposes that they should borrow money until the next quarter when his salary will be due.
- Nora’s lacks the opportunity to make independent decisions.
For the Tarantella dance Torvald dictates the kind of dress that Nora should wear during the party. Nora informs Mrs Linde that Torvald wants her to go to the Steinborgs dressed as a Neopolitan fisher-girl and dance the Tarantella that she learnt at Capri. Mrs Linde observes that Nora is going to keep up the character and Nora confirms that that is what Torvald wants of her. Torvald had had the dress made for Nora but now it is all so torn. Mrs Linde offers to mend it as the trimming had come unsewn here and there. When Helmer finds out the truth about Nora’s secret loan and the forgery he is incensed and berates Nora. Nora takes off her fancy dress and puts on her everyday dress, as a sign of liberation. She sermons Helmer to sit down for a talk and tells him that it is a settling of accounts P. 108,109. She highlights the fact that for the eight years of her marriage they have never had a serious conversation on any serious subject because Helmer belittles her for being a woman. Helmer tells her that he could not have shared with her worries that she could not help him to bear, showing his demeaning nature.
- Nora has to bear with Helmers domineering nature for the sake of peace in their home.
During the settling of accounts, Nora informs Torvald that she had greatly been wronged, first by her father and then by him. She tells Torvald that her father told her his opinion about everything and she never differed from him because he would not have liked it. He called her his doll child. She feels that she was transferred from her father’s hand into Torvald’s. She has now acquired his taste and arranges everything according to his taste. She argues that she had been living with Torvald like a poor woman, just from hand to mouth for she merely exists to perform tricks for him. She feels that a great sin had been committed against her by Torvald and her father and it is their fault that she has made nothing of her life.
In conclusion, it is evident that societal limitations can hinder someone from fulfilling their obligations.
2. Too much preoccupation with one’s own interest can easily lead to self-destruction.” Write an essay to validate this statement using illustrations from Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.
- In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, characters who are self-centered and do things for personal gain end up hurting themselves.
- Torvald in his quest to guard his reputation lacks consideration for Nora. Despite Nora’s sacrifice by borrowing money from krogstad after forging her father’s signature he sees her as one who is out to destroy his status by calling her a liar, hypocrite and unfit to be a mother to his children. Nora after learning this decides to walk out of the marriage.
- Tovarld is reluctant to retain krogstad in his job since he believes 6that other people will think that his wife who influenced his decisions to do so. He wants to come out as someone who is independent in thought. Krogstad in a desperate attempt to retain h9iis position at the bank exposes Nora’s forgery which in turn hurts the husband
- Krogstad’s attempt to retain his position at the bank ends up hurting him. He blackmails Nora and tells her to influence the husband’s decision and when Nora is not able to do so he ends up losing his job as he is dismissed by Tovarld.
- Dr Rank frequently visits the Tovarlds since he is interested in winning Nora’s heart. And when he Nora comes to know of his intentions she rejects him. (pg 97-98)
- Torvald dismisses Krogstad from the bank for a rather petty reason. Krogstad is struggling to keep his job at the bank, in order to take care of his sons and to redeem and clear his name.
- Eventually, Krogstad sends the damning letter about Nora’s secrets to Torvald making him angry, insolent and openly inconsiderate. Nora decides to leave him and their marriage breaks.
- In conclusion, being selfish may cause pain to us. This insensitivity always goes unrewarded, surely.
3. “There is a lot of betrayal in our society”. Write a composition to support this statement drawing your illustration from the play “A doll House”, By Henrik Ibsen (20marks)
(Introduction 2 mks)
Most people betrays others by deceiving who trusted them, failing to honor an agreement or simply disappointing a person who has put trust in them. A marriage partner may betray his or her partner by breaking the vow or being unfaithful; A politician betrays the citizens by not honoring his or her campaign pledges/Betrayal run through the play as show by characters such as Helmar, Krogstad and Christine.
- Helmer betrays his wife Nova by not defending and understanding her when he finds out the secret she has been keeping from him. Nova had hoped and feared for the wonderful thing to happen when Helmer finds out that she had lied and sacrificed her comfort and money to pay the loan that save his life. She had hoped that Helmer would take the guilt upon himself because Nova committed the forgery to save his life. To her wild disappointment, Helmer tells her that he can work day and night for her, bear sorrow for her but no man can sacrifices his honor for the one he loves. She also realizes that the Helmer has been treating like a doll to amuse and entertain himself. This make her realize she has been living with a stranger all a long and she decides to leave him.
- Krogstad betrays Nova by failing to Keep the secret a bond the loan he had advanced her. When Helmer is promoted to the managerial position in the bank he threatens to fire Krogstad, who also works in the bank, claiming that he is corrupt and describes him as morally diseased. Helmer also says that he feels sick in the presence of such people Krogstad blackmails Nova by telling her to use her influence and ensure that he(Krogstad) is not fired or else he would divulge the secret. When Helmer becomes adamant and refuses to be influenced by Nova. Krogstad makes good his threat and drops a letter with Helmer abuse and reprimand Nova.
- Christine (MrsLinde) betrays Krogstad, her trust but broke lover. When she realizes that she needs money to take care of her helpless and bed ridden mother and two younger brothers, she abandons her true love Krogstad ( because his prospects seemed hopeless then pg 86) and gets married to arichg man who later dies and his business collapses leaving her with nothing. The two meet again at Nova’s hase when Linde is looking for job and Krogstad is there to talk to Nova impending dismissal with an aim of blackmailing her. Christine explains the reason for her betrayal and then reconcile(pg 86-88)
- Linde also betrays Nova when She fails to help Nova by convincing Krogsta to withdraw his threat(letter)When Linde and Krogstad meet, they talk about their past and decides to reconcile. When Krogstad suggest that he will ask for his latter back, MrsLinde says that you must not recall your latter pg 90 arguing that there are too many lies between the Helmer. She takes advantage of Nova’s predicament to get back at her true love which make Nova feel betrayed pg93( To Christine suggestion that Nova “must tell her husband about it all(secret) Nova responds “I knew it” which express he disappointment and feelings of betrayal by Christine.
- Nova betrays her husband by borrowing a loan behind his back and keeping it a secret. Although the money was borrowed with an intention of saving his life, he feels betrayed that Nova has helped to get the loan by someday he consider “an unscrupulous man”(Krogstad) who can do what he likes not (Helmer)..(pg 104). When Nova reveals the secret to Christian, the letter brings out Helmers betrayal by his wife in her comment No, a wife cannot borrow without her husband consent marks 3:3:3:3=12mks
Grammer and presentation 4mks
- BV1 Raml betrays the Helmers when he confess his desire for Nova despite knowing she is married to his friend Helmer(pg 68)
In conclusion, many people in society cannot be trusted and prove to be false or faithful (2mks)
Accept any other relevant conclusion
4. “Desperation can bring agony to oneself.” Using specific examples from Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, write a composition to justify the truth in this statement.
Sometimes when one becomes desperate to get or do something they may end up suffering in the process. This is the case with characters such as Nora, Dr. Rank, Helmer and others in A Doll’s House.
(Accept any other relevant introduction) 2marks
- Krogstad is desperate to redeem his reputation through the job he has at the bank and in so doing he suffers a lot. He visits Nora frequently hoping to arm-twist her to put in a good word for him to retain the job. He threatens her with dire consequences through a court action if she would not do so. He reminds Nora of the discrepancy he had noted in the bond. However, instead of retaining the job, he gets fired.
- Helmer is desperate to maintain his manly dominance over Nora and this makes him suffer. He struggles to keep her in good moods by giving her money. He cautions her against associating with those regarded as morally diseased such as Krogstad. He coaches her on the Tarantella so as to have a stellar performance at the Stenborg’s and is disappointed when Nora doesn’t dance as he instructs. Finally, when Nora decides to walk out on him, he pleads with her to remain even if they were to behave like a brother and a sister. He asks if he even write to her but Nora refuses. In the he is embarrassed and sinks down in his chair when Nora leaves.
- Christine is desperate to save her ailing mother and help her siblings and in the process of doing so she suffers. She leaves Krogstad to marry a rich man that would afford him the money with which to make the end life of her mother bearable. In the end she fails to find fulfillment in that act. The man dies leaving her with not even a child. Even the business the man leaves behind goes under and her effort to start a school and a shop collapses. She ends up haggard looking to the extent that even her former classmate cannot recognize her. She also confesses to Krogstad that she is a ‘shipwreck.’Pp 9-13; 87-88
- Nora’s efforts to hide the secret causes her agony. She has to save money from the little she gets for housekeeping to pay off the loan in secret. She juggles between giving the husband a good table and saving some money to pay the loan. She hides Krogstad from everybody around her and even when it is obvious that he has been entertaining Krogstad, he openly lies about it. She is forced to lie to her husband that he has forgotten all the dance moves so that he can coach her again and in the process not read the letter that would reveal the secret. She contemplates suicide when she thinks the husband will know the secret. 13-19; 42-43; 61-62; 81-83
- Dr. Rank is hell-bent on winning Nora’s love and this causes him agony. When he get the chance with Nora, he whips up her sympathy by talking about his eminent death and flirts with her. He is desperate to have Nora in his arms. On noticing his ill intentions, Nora rebukes him for his ill manners. 63-70; 97-99
- Nora’s effort to get a loan to save her husband makes her suffer. She pleads with her husband to take a loan but he declines. She cannot take the loan herself because the society doesn’t allow women to secure loans without their husband’s consent. At the time of the loan she was pregnant with her first child her father was also sick. Desperate to save the husband’s life at the time her father was also sick, she forges the father’s signature to secure the loan. Pp. 13-21; 38-41
Sometimes when we are desperate for something we may end up hurting ourselves.
(Accept any other valid conclusion) 2marks
5. Write an essay to show that appearances can be misleading. Draw your illustrations from Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House.
Indeed, appearances can be deceiving. In A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, some characters portray naivety yet they are not. Others look harmless yet they are capable of blackmail.
- Appearances can be deceiving. Nora appears naive and helpless. Her role in the home is taking care of the children and her husband yet she is very intelligent. She takes a loan secretly and women are not allowed to take loans without their husband's consent. She forges a signature so that it looks like her father signed the bond. What Torvald does not know is that Nora takes a loan and to pay for his trip to Italy to save him as he is very ill. Nora makes him believe she also wants to go on a trip. He believes the money came from her father. What he does not know is that Nora deceived him.
- Torvald thinks Nora is a plaything and is expected to be a wife and a homemaker. When she tells Torvald she is leaving him, he tells her she is deserting her most sacred duties of being a mother and a wife. He does not realize that Nora is awakening and taking back her independence.
- He still thinks her as naive. She even tells him to shut up as she talks. She takes charge of the situation for the first time since she got married.
- Krogstad is a friend to Nora and helps her secure a loan only to blackmail her later. He wants her to ask Torvald to retain him at the bank or he will tell him about the loan Nora took. He wants to retain the bank job to help him repair his reputation which had been damaged.
- Torvald is confident that he has power over Nora. When he learns of his wife's secret letter, he severely reprimands her. When a second letter absolves them from the debt, he tells her they will live together but only for the public. When she tells him she is leaving, he begs her as he always thought he had power over her. Nora takes back the power that Helmer always had taken from her.
- Dr Rank is a loyal friend of Helmer, but the whole time he is secretly in love with Helmer's wife, Nora. He is loyal to Helmer though and retreats when Nora does not seem interested in his love.
It is evident that appearances can be deceiving. Nora is not as innocent as Helmer thinks, Krogstad is out to blackmail Nora for his own good yet he at first pretends to be her confidant. Nora looks like she cannot leave Helmer but she does it so easily to Helmer's shock.
6. “Money is the source of all evil”. Support this statement with illustrations from the play the doll’s house by Henkrik Ibsen (20marks).
Introduction: Accept a valid introduction
- Lack of money can lead to breakage of marriages. Mrs Linde divorces her husband, Krogstad, because he is financially unstable. She gets married to a rich man. Money can be a source of humiliation.
- Krogstad, a money lender, blackmails Nora in order for him to retain his job at the bank. Money can make people to focus on materialism at the expense of humanity.
- Torvalds felt discontented dealing with unsavory cases' as a lawyer. For that reason, he decided to get a job in a bank where he would be dealing with money.
- When the business of Mrs Linde's late husband collapsed, she was left with nothing to survive on.
Conclusion: Accept a valid conclusion
7. Using Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House for illustrations, write an essay in support of the statement: “Things are not always what they seem to be.”
Suggested response for question 2
The suggested responses only give the gist of the points to be discussed. The students expected to provide enough support and evidence for each point
Suggested response for question 2
- It is true that appearance can be deceptive. Ones initial judgement of a person or an issue may turn out to be the opposite in the end. Several character and issues in the play A doll’s house turn out to be the opposite of what they had appeared to be.
- Nora who at first appear to be Naïve and incapable of making decision in life turns out to be the opposite she had made a decision to acquire a loan that helps to save her husband’s life. At the end of the play she makes a decision to quit her marriage and develop herself independently.
- Torvald who had appeared as a loving a caring husband also turns out to be to opposite. The revelation of the truth about Nora’s loans brings out Trovald’s real character. He does not love Nora and only uses her as a doll to please himself
- Krogstad who at first appeared to be cruel turn out to be kind and forgiving. He is ready to withdraw his letter and save Noras marriage. He also accepts back Mrs Linde who had betrayed his love to mar a rich man.
- Mrs Linde is the opposite of what Nora had believed her to be Nora thought she would convince Krongstad to withdraw his letter but it is Mrs Linde who convinces Krongstas not to do so hence treading to the corrupts of Noras marriage.
- Dr Rank who was the family’s best friend always welcome in the house turns out to be Noras secret lover. This comes as a surprise to Nora who is unable to seek any assistance from him.
- Nora and Tovarld’s marriage which had appeared to be a happy one turns out to be one based on lies and manipulation hence it corruses at the end.
- It is clear from the discussion above that appearances can be deceptive. People should strive to give a true picture of themselves and not pretend
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