Nora’s very happy. Her husband has just gotten a better job with a higher salary, and soon she’ll be free of a debt she incurred many years ago (without her husband’s knowledge) to finance a trip south that saved her husband’s life. But then the person who gave her the loan shows up. He’s being fired by Nora’s husband and tells her he will reveal everything if she doesn’t influence her husband to change his mind.
Okay, so I know that setup sounds a bit boring and lame, perhaps, but really, this play is worth reading and/or seeing. The whole time I was reading, I thought the play was pleasant and interesting, but not this really striking story that people always talk about. It was very easy to read, with very modern, flowing language despite a translation from the Norwegian and the fact that it was published in 1879. Altogether I thought it was fun and mildly interesting, but not amazing. When I got to the last few pages, however, it became that striking story. The next paragraph will be all spoilers, so if you want to walk away now, that’s okay – just know this play is really, really amazing and I highly recommend it. Also, for those of you out there interested in Women’s Studies, this is definitely one you want to check out!
Okay. The end. I was expecting Nora to be crushed or for everything to turn out well, probably the former. What I wasn’t expecting was Nora’s suddenly growing in her mind to understand that all she’s ever been to the men around her is a pet, a doll, a plaything. In one moment, because her husband is a real jerk to her instead of being considering, caring, or polite, she suddenly sees everything clearly. I love love LOVE what she says to him, and her decision to just leave. She must find herself and learn how to be a person, rather than a doll. Honestly I don’t even mind her walking away from children she never really did anything for anyway. It’s like she was thrown into a void, and realized she didn’t exist, and the only way to live again was to go find herself. What an amazing message. I was so surprised to find out this was written in 1879, and what a stir it caused then! It feels very modern, with a feminist message that wouldn’t have been out of place in the mid-to-late 20th century. It was so good!!