The Waste Land

Social Criticism in A Doll's House and Look Back in Anger 12th Grade

The term "social criticism" refers to a type of condemnation that reveals the reasons for malicious conditions in a society which is considered deeply flawed. Indeed, both Ibsen and Osborne, in their respective plays A Doll’s House and Look Back in Anger, use theater as a means of voicing their opinions on the imperfections of their societies, and the crippling effects these flaws will inevitably cause. The plays' corresponding protagonists Jimmy Porter and Nora Helmer are presented as “realistic human individuals” through the literary genre of social realism, which, as George Shi accurately expressed, unveils the “the ugly realities of contemporary life.”

Nora is presented as the epitome of a nineteenth century Norwegian wife, “An Angel in the House,” enslaved by marriage in order to submissively adhere to the needs of her husband and children, while trapped within a household of chauvinism. The title “A Doll’s House" acts as a metaphor for Nora’s confinement and lack of humanitarian rights within the patriarchal society of 1870’ Norway. Social criticism is effectively conveyed through Nora’s treatment as “a doll,” “a child,” and a “silly little girl,” and is further reinforced through the diminutive, misogynistic simile “just...

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