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The importance of A Doll’s House being set during the Christmas season is because the Christmas season is easily relatable and this can help the reader to make inferences about what is going on through familiarization. In A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, Ibsen uses the Christmas season, the Christmas tree and the new year to symbolize many different things. He uses the Christmas season to portray the marriage between Nora and Torvald, the New Year to portray new beginnings for all of the characters, most prevalently Nora, Torvald and Krogstad, and the Christmas tree itself to portray Nora and her inner conflict as well as the materialistic nature of Christmas.
The Christmas season also leads to the theme of materialism. Nora and Torvald are focused on materialistic things, such as money, the tree and the Christmas presents. Also, one main thing that is materialistic that is focused on a lot throughout the book is Nora’s clothing. She is dressed up like a doll throughout the play and her clothes are a big materialistic item that is focused on. Torvald is constantly concerned with making sure that Nora looks the right way and will not have it any other way. The mood of the play is also introduced through the Christmas season. In the stage directions at the beginning of act 1, it is mentioned that Nora is humming a tune and in high spirits. The Christmas season can be seen through this in the aspect that during this time of year people are often cheery and happy. The reader can almost picture Nora and/or Torvald wearing an ugly Christmas sweater.
Ibsen uses the Christmas tree to symbolize Nora. This symbolism is very important because it gives information about Nora’s character. Ibsen is using a familiar item and season to set the scene for a story. It is expressed in the story that much like a Christmas tree she is at times dressed up and through most of the story, she is empty on the inside. She is compared to a Christmas tree in that, she can be dressed up and taken down as simply as the tree. The tree is destroyed at one point in the story and that is relevant in that it is comparable to how the forgery of the letter is destroying Nora. Krogstad is tearing her down as easily as Torvald is dressing her up. She does not care much for herself in that she is very child-like and depends on Torvald for a good portion of this story.. She is full of motherly responsibilities and she isn’t happy in her marriage. Her secret (the forgery of the letter) is eating her up alive and destroying her marriage.
A motif demonstrated in A Doll’s House is the unreliability of appearances. This is used to uncover some details about the characters, especially Nora and her marriage. Nora seems put together and happy when she’s not. She seems like the perfect wife and she is hiding the biggest secret of all from her husband. Torvald’s marriage seems fine but it is teeming with secrets. In A Doll’s House, this motif plays a big role. Not only for Nora and Torvald, but for Christine and Krogstad as well. Krogstad is more than meets the eye. He starts in this story as a revenge stricken man and he wishes nothing but harm to Nora and Torvald’s marriage. Christine shows him that he has more inside of him than that. In A Doll’s House, Christine is used as a christ figure. Much like Christ, Christine takes in someone who is less than perfect, Krogstad. She is also a hard worker and is self-sufficient. She has the motivation to help those who need it, which is comparable to Christ. She shows these attributes in many ways, not only helping Krogstad, but Nora as well.
The Christmas season is symbolic of Nora and Torvald’s marriage. Their marriage seems happy and perfect on the outside when in reality it is not. There are secrets destroying their marriage from the inside out. In the Christmas season, there are often secrets because parents pretend, for little children at least, that Santa is the one bringing the presents when in reality the parents are the ones providing gifts for their children. The Christmas season also serves as a tool for familiarization, being that it helps the audience to understand the mood of the story. The Christmas season is easily relatable for most or all people, even those who celebrate a different holiday.
The new year symbolizes the new beginnings for Nora and Torvald as well as for the other characters in the story. Nora now has freedom from her parental obligations and can explore a new carefree life away from Torvald. She is free from all of her secrets and lies. She is free to start over without all of the stress of her past. She also must learn to be a more independent person. With freedom comes independance. To be independent, you must be strong. Torvald also has to start over and learn how to grow as a man. From Torvald’s perspective, the new year symbolizes growth and a new way of thinking. He has to learn how to be a new person, who is less demeaning and strict. He needs to learn that he can’t control others. While for Christine and Krogstad the new year simply symbolizes a new beginning as they can begin to start over together and forget all of their past mistakes.Christine must teach him to grow and he must learn to be the man she wants him to be. All of these new beginnings are symbolic of the freedom that they can now experience as new people or people that are trying to change their ways.
The Christmas season is symbolic for many things and is important for the reader to get a clear picture of what is going on. Through this, the audience can learn about the marriage between Nora and Torvald and the secrets that are being hidden by Nora, specifically the letter and forgery, which the macaroons are a symbol of. The Christmas season is also a symbol of materialism and is important for establishing the mood of the play as Christmas is usually cheery and bright. The Christmas tree is symbolic of Nora in that she is not completely put together and can be taken down as simply as a tree. An example is the attempt to ruin her that is attempted by Krogstad. The new year is symbolic of new beginnings and opportunities to change for all of the characters, most prevalently Krogstad, Nora and Torvald. As a simple rephrasing, the Christmas season is symbolic of the marriage between Nora and Torvald, the Christmas tree is symbolic of Nora and the materialistic nature of Christmas, and the new year is symbolic of the new beginnings for Krogstad, Nora, Torvald and the other characters in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen.
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