A Doll's House

What evidence is there that Nora's nicknames given to her by her husband reflect her conformity to her husband's expectations of her?


Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

Torvald’s insistence on calling Nora by affectionately diminutive names evokes her helplessness and her dependence on him. The only time that Torvald calls Nora by her actual name is when he is scolding her. When he is greeting or adoring her, however, he calls her by childish animal nicknames such as “my little skylark” and “my squirrel.” By placing her within such a system of names, Torvald not only asserts his power over Nora but also dehumanizes her to a degree. When he implies that Nora is comparable to the “little birds that like to fritter money,” Torvald suggests that Nora lacks some fundamental male ability to deal properly with financial matters. Though Torvald accuses Nora of being irresponsible with money, he gives her more in order to watch her happy reaction. This act shows that Torvald amuses himself by manipulating his wife’s feelings. Nora is like Torvald’s doll—she decorates his home and pleases him by being a dependent figure with whose emotions he can toy.