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Comparsion - Term Paper Example

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Name Instructor Course Date “A Doll’s House” and “Trifles”: Comparison. At first reading, Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” and Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles” appear to be markedly different. Ibsen’s play centers round the theme of a woman’s search for self-identity, while Glaspell’s drama explores the aftermath of a murder…
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Download file to see previous pages “Trifles” analyzes the dark shades underlying the married life of John and Minnie Wright and the attitude of Henderson, Hale and Peters to Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale. Torvald’s attitude towards Nora in “A Doll’s House” resembles the men’s attitude towards the women in “Trifles” and gender assumptions contribute to the conflict in the two plays. Torvald’s attitude towards Nora is that of the benevolent patriarch. She is his “little lark,” “squirrel,” and “little featherhead!” (Ibsen, Act I). He considers her to be a “helpless little mortal” (Act II), who is so lacking in sense that she cannot even take care of her teeth: he forbids her to eat macaroons. He expects obedience from her and complacently responds “No, I am sure of that,” when Nora declares “I should not think of going against your wishes” (I). Nora is a child, who needs to be guided and watched over. When he catches her in a little lie, he actually “Shakes his finger at her” in admonishment (I). He agrees with Nora when she says, “Everything I think of seems so silly and insignificant” (I). He takes great pleasure in criticizing and correcting her dance. Torvald attitude is very sanctimonious. When Nora says, “Everything you do is quite right, Torvald,” he replies, “Now my little skylark is speaking reasonably” (III). Her criticism of his attitude towards Krogstad as “narrow-minded,” inflames him and he deliberately dismisses Krogstad immediately. He treats Nora as a “doll-wife” (III) whose priority is to amuse him with tricks of “dancing and dressing-up and reciting” (I). Torvald criticizes her money-sense by saying, “That is like a woman” (I). Torvald treats Nora as a parent would an indulged, irresponsible and helpless child. Torvald’s attitude toward his wife is reflected in the attitude of the men towards the women in “Trifles.” The men are extremely condescending in their treatment of Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale in the play. When Minnie Wright’s concern over her preserves is aired, Henderson declares that “women are used to worrying about trifles” (Glaspell, 9). Likewise, “the men laugh” (17) at their preoccupation with Minnie’s work on her patchwork quilt. The question as to whether Minnie intended “to quilt it or just knot it” becomes a recurring joke which has connotations of masculine superiority and amused tolerance. The men are prepared to indulge the women in their little worries and Henderson figuratively gives them a sanctimonious pat on the back with his “what would we do without the ladies?” (9). The men ignore the kitchen in their search for evidence, with the Sheriff dismissing it “as nothing here but kitchen things” (8). The implication is that the kitchen is the woman’s domain and, as such, does not deserve to be given much importance. A woman’s duty is as a housekeeper and she is expected to keep a spick and span house. The men are aware that their indulgent attitude towards the perceived fragility and insignificance of women will be mirrored by the jury: Henderson points out “But you know juries when it comes to women” (28). In line with his refusal to take the women seriously, Henderson does not bother to check the things carried out by the women. The vast disconnect between male assumptions and the reality of women directly ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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