Macaroons In A Doll’s House Essay

Macaroons are a biscuit/pastry people have indulged themselves with for hundreds of years. They were created by the French and these little pieces of heaven could brighten anyone’s day. Then there are dolls. Little life like figures that children play with throughout the world. You can accessorize them, make them talk, and even have a doll house for them to stay in. Two great things completely unrelated, right? However, when merged together, they become an eye opening drama by author Henrik Ibsen, who gives women’s oppression in the nineteenth century a spin by creating the character Nora and her controlling husband Torvald.

Who thought that a sweet treat such as macaroons could resemble lying, one’s self image, and even an abusive relationship. A Doll’s House portrays the main character’s, Nora, struggle for freedom from her husband Torvald Helmer. In the 19th century, women weren’t allowed to make any decisions for themselves. The big deal with Nora in the story was that she took out a bank loan, without her husband’s permission, and to take out the loan, she had to forage her father’s signature, which wasn’t just a crime, but a pure act of defiance for a woman during that time period.

Throughout the story, there are little scenes that dig deep into the symbolic referencing of the entire drama. That’s where the macaroons make their appearance. “Nora shuts the door. She laughs softly to herself while taking off her street things. Drawing a bag of macaroons from her pocket, she eats a couple, then steals over and listens at her husband’s study door…Putting the macaroon bag in her pocket and wiping her mouth”. First of all, the macaroons resemble Nora’s constant acts of lying.

“They symbolize the suppressed delights that Nora endures as a result of playing the role of a child within the marriage” (Ossa). Helmer: (shaking an admonitory finger) Surely my sweet tooth hasn’t been running riot in town today, has she? Nora: No. Why do you imagine that? Helmer: My sweet tooth really didn’t make a little detour through the confectioner’s? Nora: No. I assure you Torvald—Helmer: Hasn’t nibbled some pastry? Nora: No, not at all. Helmer: Nor even munched a macaroon or two? Nora: No, Torvald, I assure you, really—Helmer: There, there now. Of course I’m only joking”. Nora goes through the most trouble only to have a sweet and tasty treat because her husband won’t allow it.

She continues to lie, not just to Torvald but others as well, about the macaroons. “Nora: (Taking the bag out of her pocket. ) Dr. Rank, a little macaroon on that? Rank: See here, macaroons! I thought they were contraband here. Nora: Yes, but these are some that Kristine gave me. Mrs. Linde: What? I”. Nora is willing to involve other people in her lies in order to keep the truth from her husband. If she lies about little treats continuously, there’s nothing stopping her from lying about something even greater, which she does later on by trying to hide the bank loan from Torvald.

We know that Torvald doesn’t allow Nora to possess macaroons, but why? In the end of the story, Nora’s luck runs out and Torvald is told the truth behind her lie. He bashes Nora and basically kicks her to the curve, until Krogstad gives up on his revenge of Nora and the bank note is paid off. At that point, Torvald is willing to completely forgive Nora of all wrongdoing, but she hesitates. Instead of returning to her life of misery, she leaves her husband and children and goes out into the world on her own. Nora finally realized that she was with Torvald for only his self-image.

She made him look good in public, which is what he cared about the most. Not their love together or a strong relationship, but rather a piece of eye candy that made all the other men wish they were him. So where do the macaroons come into play. According to “The Book of Household Management”, a macaroon contains one-hundred ninety calories, which is more than the average can of Coke. In the 1800s, calories weren’t exactly counted as they are today, but people still understood what was healthy and what was not.

Torvald understood the fact that if Nora’s sweet tooth got the best of her, she would never stop eating macaroons and gain weight, which would make her seem less and less attractive. If that was to happen, then Torvald would lose his dearest asset that contributes to his appearance. Torvald didn’t just ask her politely to stop, however, he banned them from the household and threatened her jokingly. The macaroons resemble lying and Torvald’s picture of self-imagery, but most of all, it symbolizes an abusive relationship between husband and wife.

Torvald never comes straight out and says how he would punish Nora if he ever caught her trying to deceive him, but by the tone, you can insinuate that the outcome would not have been pleasant for Nora. The macaroons were not the only thing that symbolized the abuse either. Nora rarely leaves the house, she’s an uneducated woman, the constant unwanted groping and fondling; Torvald controls every aspect of Nora’s life without giving her any choices. “They also symbolize the forbidden and so-badly wanted pleasure of being allowed to be free within the relationship to engage in the behaviors that she seems fit”(Ossa).