Truth and secrets

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  • TRUTH AND SECRECY
    • 1 - Nora's first sign of deceit "eating macaroons"
      • Symbol of rebellion for Nora, forbidden by Torvald
      • Creates idea of patriarchal society. Paternalistic relationship seen in bourgeois family - "bourgeois respectability"
      • Ibsen 1878 notes " a woman cannot be herself in contemporary society, it is an exclusively male society with laws drafted and defined by men"
        • From the Antique - "i wish and i wish i were a man" yearning. Men have more rights. Unlike melancholy speaker in FTA, Nora uses femininity to her advantage
    • 2 - Nora's flirtatious "skylark persona" - reader soon learns this is a mechanism to conceal her secret
      • In bourgeois family, women seen as less than. Little emancipation. Society has shaped Torvald's dictatorial personality
        • Ibsen broke away from the romantic tradition with his realistic portrayals of characters and his focus on psychological concerns as he sought to portray the real world, especially the position of women in society. Childlike behavior really did happen - naturalism
      • Winter: My Secret - similarly, persona is flirtatious
        • Speaker uses personal pronoun "i" possessive of secret. Metaphors of seasons to describe trustworthiness of world. World unfriendly? - Winter too dangerous to venture in openly. Nora does despite dangers of the world
          • Patriarchal ideal in Victorian society reinforced by social structure wherein women had little economic power. Dependent on institution of marriage. Unhappines would often be kept a secret - difficult for women to be successful in her own right
    • Nora lying is the only tool society has left her. She must manipulate the truth in order to have any power at all
      • a lie was created to help and protect a loved one - yet it resulted in a catastrophic act. " It was necessary he should have no idea what a dangerous condition he was in. It was to me that the doctors came and said that his life was in danger." Nora's lies to Torvald stem from an act of love
        • Root of many problems is money. economic boom brought prosperity, it also brought an obsession with, and an over-awareness of money - common feature of indusralisation and capitailsm
          • Larson - Growth and prosperity of Norway’s upper-middle class began in 1843, with a great economic boom. This boom lasted until approximately 1875, meaning that Nora and Torvald were still reaping its effects
        • No, Thank You John - speaker apologetically reveals her truth. Within dramatic monologue, unnamed woman rejects John's proposal for marriage. Remarkable in frankness "let bygones be bygones" sense of equality with man.
          • Victorian society - most women were assumed to desire marriage because it allowed them to become mothers. Narrator goes against this, bluntly truthful
    • In ultimate scene, Nora, similarly to No thank you john's narrator rejects Torvald and finally truthful. Torvald - "before all else, you're a wife and a mother". Nora - "I don't believe in that anymore"
      • Simone de Beauvior - in patriarchal culture, woman inevitably experiences herself as object or other
        • Nora refuses to be the submissive archetypal domestic wife. Refuses to be an object, tells the truth
          • Shuts the door and leaves
            • his decision in Act III tohave her abandon her marriage and children was lambasted by critics as unrealistic, since according to them,no "real" woman would ever make that choice. Reformed version in 1882 in Germany
              • Shut out - written in a time where women confined to domestic sphere. Narrator feels shut out from wider society because patriarchal world doesn't allow for women to have autonomy
                • Woman who are true to themselves seen as outcasts - St Mary's Magdalene house for fallen woemn 1859 - prostitution seen as social evil
                  • Hypocrisy in law making Political institution supports female subordination. Contagious Diseases Act  instituted from 1860 which allowed, in certain towns, for the forced medical examination of any woman who was suspected of being a sex worker. If she was found to be infected she was placed in a ‘Lock Hospital’ until she was cured. Josephine Butler vigorously campaigned for a repeal of the acts, arguing that it was male clients, as much as the prostitutes, who were responsible for the ‘problems’ associated with prostitution.
    • Dr Rank keeps approaching death a secret from Torvald. Dies alone
      • Hereditary disease still stigmatized

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