Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (Act 2)
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I put points (15 points) on Discussion Question #1; this does not mean that question #1 is only graded. I did it for the sake of keeping the grade book less crowded. Although you see that discussion question #1 only is shown as graded (15 points), each discussion question (#1, 2, and #3 ) equally counts 5 points. In other words, the total points for three discussion questions per session will be 15 points.
Discussion Question #1 for Ibsen’s
A Doll’s House (1879, Act 2, pp. 553-567)
1.Nora asks Anna, “I can’t have them [her children] with me in future… Do you believe they would forget their mother if she went quite away”? (Act 2, 553) What is Nora worried about? Does she care about her own interest or does she worry about her children? Does she think that she is not a good influence on her children because she lied to her husband and forged her father’s signature? Should Nora have borrowed or not borrowed money at all, although Torvald was sick? (Nora told Christina: “He [Torvald] wasn’t even to suspect how ill he was.” Act 1, 541) Why did Nora feel the need to borrow money without her husband’s consent? Did she think it was her duty to save her husband’s life? How is Nora’s action similar to (or different from) Christina’s decision of marrying a rich man to support her sick mother and two little brothers? Did Nora have to sacrifice her image and reputation by forging her father’s signature? (Although her father could not take any legal responsibility for the loan due to his death.) Why does Nora plan to reveal her “grand secret” to Torvald many years later (presumably after paying off her debt) when she is not so pretty (Act 1, 542)? What do you make of her reasoning?
2.Nora begs Torvald to let Krogstad keep his position at the Bank, but Torvald does not listen to her plea. Why does Nora keep her secret, instead of telling directly Torvald about the money she borrowed from Krogstad? Is it for her sake or is it for his sake (or for both)? Why does Torvald refuse to listen to Nora’s plea not to dismiss Krogstad from the Bank? Why does he think that Krogstad would make his [Torvald’s] position at the Bank unbearable? What do you make of Torvald’s reason for dismissing Krogstad? How would you characterize Torvald?
3. Earlier in Act 1, Nora told Krogstad: “If my husband gets to know about it, he will, of course, pay you off at once, and then we shall have nothing more to do with you” (Act 1, 548). Then, why does Nora keep telling Krogstad “her husband must never know” (Act 2, 562)? What is she afraid of? What does Nora want to protect by not revealing the money she borrowed from Krogstad? Torvald tells Nora: “I forgive your anxiety. . . for it’s a proof of your great love for me. . . Let what will happen. . . my shoulders are broad enough to bear the whole burden” (Act 2, 558). But, Nora responds, “That you shall never, never do!” (Act 2, 558). Why is she saying that Torvald shall not bear the whole burden? Does Nora think of Torvald differently after she talked to him about Krogstad? Right after her conversation with Torvald, Nora turns to Doctor Rank [ “Anything, escape! What shall I do–! Act 2, 558] and tells him that there is something he can help her with as a token of their great friendship, and then she suddenly changes her mind. Why? What do you make of Nora’s reaction here? Does her reaction to Doctor Rank show she is rational or irrational? Later, Christina Linden tells Nora that it is better for both of them that Torvald knows it is Krogstad who lent her the money. Nora also admits it and tells Christina: “Things must take their course. After all, there’s something glorious in waiting for the miracle” (Act 2, 567). What “miracle” is Nora waiting for (although she doubts it will happen)?