This article on Betty Friedan’s famous book The Feminine Mystique addresses the damaging societal assumptions that women in the 1960s could find fulfillment simply by raising children and doing housework, and that an ideal woman shouldn't have any interest in pursuing independence or higher education. After World War II ended, sexist societal expectations left many housewives feeling empty and dissatisfied— the same feelings that plague Nora as she begins to fully understand the constraints imposed upon her by her traditional marriage to Torvald.
Torvald accuses Nora of being out of her mind when she announces that she plans to leave him and the children. For centuries, women have been subjected to the labels of “insane” and “weak,” and Nora lived during a time when being hysterical was viewed as an actual medical condition. This article explains the development of “hysteria” as a diagnosis borne of men’s dominance over the field of medicine.
This video explains Ibsen’s background and how he transformed theater through realism. The episode portrays the rampant sexism in the culture that Nora lived in by comparing the work of Ibsen with that of Swedish playwright August Strindberg.
This article demonstrates how Nora was ahead of her time in needing to pursue self-discovery. Though her marriage provided for her physical needs, Nora realizes at the end of the play that her marriage has starved her mentally. This article explains a psychiatrist’s view that modern spouses must help their partners “find themselves.”
This blog offers a psychologist’s advice on how people can be in a committed relationship without losing their independence or their individual identities. Nora’s inability to be herself stemmed not only from her relationship with her husband but also from her relationship with her father. The male figures in her life controlled her identity completely.
One of the important factors in Nora’s decision to leave Torvald is her realization that he does not understand her and never really has. As she says, he loves the idea of being in love with her, not her as a person. This article uses a scientific study to show that people can truly fall in love with others through conversation that gets increasingly intimate and honest. Nora claims that until their final argument, she and Torvald have never had a serious discussion.