Linking Rossetti and A Doll's House

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  • Created on: 19-02-18 12:21

A Birthday

  • Love:
    • the speaker in the poem is enriched through a pure love whilst Nora's love is a facade for how controlling Torvald is because so long as she thinks he loves her, she is happy to love him
    • Ibsen offers no religious salvation whilst Rossetti is comforted by the promise of Christ's love
  • Rebirth:
    • "the birthday of my life" could suggest being reborn through overwhelming love
    • Nora is reborn at the end of the play out of her role of being a mother into a human being "I'm taking off my costume
  • Bird imagery:
    • "My heart is like a singing bird" the speaker in the poem is free whilst Nora is trapped in the role of a mother and wife by Torvald
  • Happiness:
    • for Nora it comes through money
    • the speaker finds their happiness through nature
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A Birthday

  • Shift:
    • 2nd stanza in the poem there is a shift of urgency
    • Nora shifts to a more urgent state and into a new woman at the end
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Maude Clare

  • Rejection of societies expectations:
    • Maude and Nora break away from society to reveal the truth 
    • Both would have been considered liminal and dangerous to Victorian standards
  • Strong female voice:
    • A Doll's House was one of the first play's centred around women as the main characters rather than just foils to their male counterparts
    • Nora dominates the dying stages of the play
    • Mrs Linde forces the truth to come out and is the greatest voice of reason
    • The poem is dominated by female voice and the male voice is hesitant and weak, depicts the strength of women when they realise their worth is more than just a mother or wife
  • Female sacrifice:
    • Nell at the end must sacrifice herself for love and is happy to settle for this
    • Nora realises that women sacrifice their true identity and their safety for the sake of love, whilst men would never do the same thing
    • Nora and Maude have to compromise their virtue for men 
    • Female limitations in society push Nora and Maude to do something illegal
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Soeur Louise de la Misericorde

  • Finding a new life:
    • in the poem, a new life is found through religion as it offers her redemption for her sins
    • religion offers Nora no salvation so she is forced to forge a new life alone as 'the miracle' will never occur so long as society remains the same
  • Women are not commanded:
    • Soeur Louise contraversally rejected her desires and her past life due to the destruction it caused
    • Nora is not persuaded by Torvald at the end of the play and realises to be a human being she must think for herself
    • both are aware of the negative change from past to present as a result of women's expectations
  • Lasting desires:
    • Soeur Louise perhaps continues to desire for her old life, "Longing and love" and is forced into a new role by rejecting her old life which continues to force women to fit into societies standards
    • Nora still will think of her old life, but she no longer has the desire to fulfil her motherhood role as she 'slams the door shut' on her old life
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Shut Out

  • Entrapment:
    • the speaker in the poem is unable to get past the gate and is thus trapped from happiness and fulfilment perhaps due to breaking away from socieities expectations
    • Nora is trapped within the doll's house and in her role as a mother by society and Torvald
    • the structure of the poem makes the stanzas sound enclosed, which is similar to the use of the doors in A Doll's House which reflect Nora's entrapment in her roles
    • door imagery is used in both texts, in the poem it reflects the narrators exclusion from happiness, which is similar to Nora, and on top of this the doors also reflect her inability to break free and being trapped in her roles and her secret
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Good Friday

  • Changing contexts:
    • both of the texts are written at a time of change
    • in Britian, people were starting to question faith, which is perhaps why Rossetti places so much signifiance on one being able to feel religious as God's love is unquestioning even in a time of doubt to quash these feelings
    • in Norway, the feminist movement was starting to pick up pace, particularly after 1879 and women were starting to question their role in society and want to be seen as equal
    • thus Ibsen is perhaps more progressive whilst Rossetti wanted unchanging attitudes towards religion 
  • Challenging Christian notions:
    • A Doll's House takes place at Christmas time and challenges the traditional family
    • Good Friday presents a speaker who is unable to be moved by the central Christian holiday that even affected the world on a cosmic level
  • Death and rebirth:
    • 'doll' Nora has to die in order for her to be free from her repressive roles and is reborn as a new woman who refuses to be seen as just a mother or a wife
    • the poem takes place during the resurection of Christ, and the volta at the end of the poem reflects a shifting of attitudes and a rebirth of faith, similar to Nora at the end of the play
  • The honesty of lanuage throughout the poem is similar to Nora's clairty at the end of the play
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  • Control:
    • the poem shifts in the second part to a permanent love brought about by religion and rebelling against societies expectations
    • Nora regains control of her identity at the end of the play by also rebelling against society and the roles forced upon her
  • Masculine judgement:
    • "critical eye" suggests that men don't marry for love but for economical worth, similar to Torvald as it is suggested he never loved Nora, he only wanted to have the apperance of a perfect family
    • it is a man that stands between the speaker and completion, much like Torvald stands between Nora and becoming an independent human being
  • Bird imagery:
    • both the women are trapped
    • in the poem, birds should be a symbol for joy, but it traps her in unfulfilment
    • Torvald calling Nora a bird traps her in her role as a passive mother
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In the Round Tower at Jhansi

  • Love:
    • in the poem, man and wife make a sacrifice for one another whilst Torvald claims that a man should never have to sacrifice himself, but Nora depicts how her love was shown through her ultimate sacrifice
  • Building of urgency:
    • the anapaest preceeded by an iamb creates this urgency
    • Nora's speech as the play goes on becomes more frantic as Krogstad puts more pressure on her
  • Death:
    • the suicide of Skene and his wife is presented by Rossetti as a noble action
    • Nora wanting to commit suicide is seen as pathetic 
    • however, the death of Nora's character in the end is portrayed as very brave by Ibsen as this was socially unacceptable and there was no organised feminist movement
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  • Dependency
    • Echo is dependent upon the memory of her lover to bring her a sense of happiness and some type of life
    • this is similar to Nora as she is dependent upon Torvald to live as he provides her with money, but he does not bring her happiness as he traps her within the role of the mother and wife
  • Echoes:
    • there is anaphora in the poem which suggests a literal echo
    • Nora is Torvald's echo as she calls herself a songbird and reiterates what he says and fulfils the roles he forces and expects her to be
  • Threshold:
    • the dreams in the poem suggests the threshold between life and death and it is the "slow door" that inables the speaker to reach real happiness
    • in A Doll's House the doors trap Nora from the real world and becoming a human being, not just a doll
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From The Antique

  • A woman's place in society:
    • both the texts yearn for independence from society because of their gender and the oppression and alienation that they face
    • however in the poem the speaker wishes for anihilation whilst Nora wishes for a miracle as she still see's hope, this could be because Rossetti fully understands the female experience as she would have known the extent of the patriarchy 
    • both of the speakers desire to be a man, Nora wishes to earn money like a man and the speaker fully exclaims her desire to be a man rather than a woman
    • women have to sacrifice so much, like Nora, Mrs Linde and Anne-Marie that they would perhaps find a better life being a man as their expectations are so harsh in comparison to a mans
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No, Thank You, John

  • Strength of female voice:
    • the speaker in the poem chooses her own destiny, which is contrary to Victorian belief as it was expected for the woman to accept any marriage proposal
    • this is similar to Nora at the end of the play as she chooses her own destiny rather than staying her same passive role
    • the regular rhythm of the poem reflects the strength of the woman and her dominance, similar to Nora at the end of the play when she states she is "perfectly sane" suggesting the power women can hold when they learn their worth
  • Women's roles in society:
    • the poem suggests all passive women are the same ("Meg or Moll") and that all men see women for the same thing, much like Nora breaking away from the men who have done her a "great wrong" in the final scenes
    • Nora realises she was just a 'doll' for her father and Torvald, much like the speaker in the play suggests marriage is a "task" and women have to take on a role of passiveness within that and it is this which gives her the power to say no
    • both the texts were fairly radical for their contexts as they depicts empowered women who have the strength to break away from the roles that are imposed upon them
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Winter: My Secret

  • Secrecy:
    • Nora is proud of her secret, much like the speaker is comforted by her secret as it gives her power, similar to Nora as this secret gives her a sense of purpose and it gives them identity, not just to be seen as a passive unknowing woman
    • however, Nora can only truly be a human being and have her own identity one she exposes the truth, but it is the secret that gives the speaker her identity and gives her control over men
  • Empowered women:
    • the secret gives her speaker power as it provides her with protection over men
    • the free structure of the poem reflects the free woman from societies expectations
    • for Nora, the freedom and defiant tone of her speech reflects her power at the end of the play, and the final act of her slamming the door is the ultimate closure upon socieities expectations of her and the start of her new life
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  • Self-sacrifice:
    • Nora has to make a sacrifice to save her husband and is then punished for it, but also at the end of the play has to sacrifice her family to be herself and find her own identity
    • the speaker has to sacrifice her true desire to be remembered in order to make her loved ones happy
  • Strong female voice:
    • the only voice in the poem is that of a woman and it is a commanding tone
    • this is similar to Nora in the final stages of the play as she makes up her mind and cannot be influenced by Torvald or by what society would expect of a woman
  • Desire to be forgotten:
    • Dr Rank desires to be forgotten and not see any of his loved ones whilst he is dying as perhaps he also doesn't want to cause any pain or "ugliness" that make affect anyone else
    • the speaker in the poem also gains control of her life by commanding loved ones to "not grieve" as she would prefer for them to be happy
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is there one for ‘Uphill’?

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