Part 1: Many women in the late 19th century wanted their freedom and wanted to become someone without their husbands’ consent. Women in Norway, were only useful to amuse their husband, and take care of their kids. In the play “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen, we see how that plays out onto the play between Nora and her husband Helmer. What was a women’s role in the late 19th century in Norway? The text lead me to ask the question about a women’s role, because people in the late 19th century had to take care of their kids, and follow the social norms of women in Norway.
Nora on the other hand, fled from her husband and wanted to find her true identity. Addressing the question about a women’s role helps us create the character Nora, and understand the role of a women in the 19th century. Coming up with the question, was actually the easy part. I did not want to write about Brecht because I thought it would be a little harder to come up with a research question. Coming up with the question for “A Doll’s House” was easier, I wanted to talk about feminism in Norway and the role of a women.
I chose a secondary source, because I found a really good article on “Google Scholars” by Aladdin Largueche, and it talks about a women’s role in Norway. Part 2: In the article “Gender Identities and Nation-Building in Norway” by Aladdin Largueche he argues that women did not have the same rights as the man, higher education being one of them. “This “ideology of domesticity” was constructed upon beliefs in an intrinsic deference between women and men, leading to a dividing up of social function: the public sphere was a male domain, while women were mainly confined to the rivate sphere” (Largueche, 132).
Education was an important concern in that era, women had to be educated, have moral principles, and learn about religion, if they weren’t educated they were a nobody, “obedient wives, lovely daughters, honest friends, sensible ladies of the house, clever mothers and educators, models of righteousness, noble citizens of the State, supports and shelters for the poor, true Christians… “(Largueche, 132).
Women were only allowed to have private tuition, Largueche claims that their was a “examen atrium” als as a entrance examination in the year 1880, a women by the name of Ida Cecilie Thoresen was denied from taking the examination because it was a “maturity test for men” (Largueche, 133). Women weren’t qualified for the exam, and were denied a higher education. The Ida case was taken into matter, “In spite of opposition from the Department and from influential members of the Academic College, the law for women’s access to the University was on the 15 June 1882″ (Largueche, 133).
Ida was the first Norwegian female student, on the day of September 1882. Largueche “question arose: should Ida C. Thoresen be allowed to enter the exclusive student club” (Largueche 134)? Norway did not have gender equality, and if they were going to let Ida in a exclusive student club, that would mean placing women with a higher education than a man. Norway became the first European state to give full access to women with full citizenship, “In other words, from 1884 on Norway witnessed a remarkable convergence between various brands of freedom: parliamentary rule, nationalism and feminism” (Largueche, 135).
The weakness of the article, was explaining more of the women’s role in Norway, I would like have liked for the author to talk more about the roles and just not education. The strength of the article gave me a better understanding of a women’s role in education, and women were not treated equal, and could not outsmart the men. Part 3: The article gave me a better understanding of my question: What was a women’s role in the late 19th century in Norway? A women was not capable of taking on serious issues especially without a higher education. Women were only seen as the caretaker of the household and not the moneymaker.
Nora’s decision at the end of the play, played a big role, Nora realizes that she needs to find herself, and not her husband Helmer. The play does not tell us where Nora goes at the end of a play, it leaves us in awe. Maybe Nora left because she wanted a higher education, and in Norway that wasn’t permitted at that time. Nora wants to start a new life without her husband Helmer, she has no money because Helmer was taking care of her. Nora just wants to have her own life, and maybe that means for her to get a higher education and get a job where she doesn’t have to depend on Helmer.
I never thought about it in that way until I researched, the question about women’s role in Norway in the 19th century. Many women were dependent on their husbands, or a male figure in there life. Nora was always dependent on Helmer and her father, “I mean that I was simply transferred from Papa’s hand to yours. You arranged everything according to your own taste, and so I got the same tastes as you or else I pretended to. I am really not quite sure which I think sometimes the one and sometimes the other” (Ibsen, 66). Ibsen created the character Nora as woman who wasn’t following the social marriage norms.
When Nora leaves the house, she becomes a symbol for all women, and the article by Largueche shows us how women fought for their education and social norm rights. Some questions still remain, where did Nora go? And did she leave because she wanted a higher education or did she just want to find her true identity? If I were to explore the topic further, I would want their to be a second part to the play “A Doll’s House”. I want to know where Nora went and if she ever got back with Helmer. As for the article “Gender Identities and Nation-Building in Norway” by Largueche, I would love to research more about a women’s role in other countries.