The Great Gatsby and a Dolls House
Explore how relationships are presented between men and women in A Dolls House and The Great Gatsby.
Include quotes and analysis of words in depth
The great gatsby Fitzgerald
A dolls house Ibsen
The Great Gatsby and a Dolls House
This paper will seek to explore how relationships between men and women have been presented in Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” and Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” The issues of gender and idealism will also be tackled with the aim of portraying the relationship between men and women. Ibsen provides a human understanding towards universal social values, norms and family values in the drama. The play thus seeks to provide an understanding of the typical male-female relationships and what makes these relationships work or fail. Fitzgerald shows that men work hard for money to maintain their women.
The play, “A Doll’s House,” uses the institution of marriage to paint a clear picture of marriage in modern day society. The writer uses the characters of Nora and Torvald to show exactly how couples lived at the time. At the end of the play, Nora decides to leave her family behind in search of what she considered to be her true freedom. Through the couple’s marriage, the playwright clearly shows the inequality that existed between men and women at the time. Men dominated all facets of life and considered women part of their property. Such mentality brought about inequality of gender role that saw the demise of Nora and Torvald’s marriage.
Torvald’s personality emphasizes the inequality that existed between men and women. He looked down upon his wife Nora as seen in their first conversation where he asks, “Is it my little squirrel bustling about?” He’s also guilty of using offensive nicknames towards his wife such as “my little singing bird” and “my cute little pet.”
Nora leads a difficult life as she has to fend for her family. Her suffering stems from the fact that society dictates that Torvald remains the dominant partner in the relationship. He issues all kinds of orders to her wife and Nora finds herself in a situation where she has to hide her loan from her husband because Torvald cannot accept being assisted by a woman. She also has to perform secret tasks with the aim of paying off her debt as it was illegal for a woman to get a loan without her husband’s permission. She tells her friend, Mrs. Lindle, about her predicament when she states “there was no prospect of promotion there (in the marriage) during the first year she overworked herself dreadfully.” Such a tough life and a lack of respect from her husband played a key role in leaving Nora Vulnerable to Krogstad’s advances.
Torvald treated her wife as a child and sought to even control her thoughts. For instance, when telling her about a party and his desire for her to dance there, he says, “Now you must go and play through the tarantella and practice your tambourine.” Since Torvald was educated, he despised and judged his wife a lot. He tells her, “No, no; only lean on me as I will advise and direct you. I should not be a man if this womanly helplessness did not just give you a double attractiveness in my eyes.” He eventually becomes incredibly selfish as he only thinks of his opinions as being right as opposed to sharing ideas with his wife.
Torvald also continually makes fun of Nora’s spending habits. However, her spending habits are purely motivated by her desire to ensure that her family leads a comfortable life. She’s excited about her husband’s new well-paying job as she sees it as an opportunity to pay off her job. Nora spends her money on worthy causes like feeding her family while her husband’s spending is driven by selfish interests and a lack of clear family goals.
Torvalds sees Nora as being foolish and ignorant of the ways society works. He, however, enjoys her ignorance as it makes her so dependent on him. This dependence is what forms the basis of Torvald’s affection towards her wife and not love.
The Great Gatsby show the lengths that men go through to maintain and win over women. Men clearly dominate women as demonstrated by the character of Tom who uses his sheer physical strength to control and intimidate women (Fitzgerald, & Tarner, 2005). “I hate that word hulking,” Tom objected crossly, “even in kidding” Hulking, “insisted Daisy. The above conversation clearly portrays their relationship. It also shows the relationship between men and women as they tend to argue and disagree almost all the time.
Women play second fiddle to men and their views and opinions don’t account for much. Daisy retorts that she’d rather act dumb so as to get Tom’s attention since women always came second to men. “She smiled slowly and, walking through her husband as if he were a ghost, shook hand with him, looking flush in the eye.”
Men are also seen as being controlling of the women as seen when Nick talks about the guests at the Gatsby’s party. He describes how men always want to leave any party especially when their wives are having a fabulous time. This brings out men as being egotistic and controlling as they always want to have it their way without any second thought of what the woman wants (Fitzgerald, & Tarner, 2005).
Fitzgerald, F. S., & Tarner, M. (2005). The Great Gatsby. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.
Ibsen, H., & Haldeman-Julius, E. (2008). A doll’s house. Waiheke Island: Floating Press.