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Women Sacrifices in The Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen and The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Women granted the right to vote in 1920 with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment of the United states. Women had a long road of suffrage before gaining their rights as human and the same equality as men. Literature before the 19th century reflects upon the treatment towards women at the time. Male superiority caused women to make many sacrifices by not being able to purse they own ambitions , careers and identity. For example, in the play “ The Doll's House” by Henrik Ibsen, the marriage of Torvald and Nora Helmer was unstable because of the gender inequality. Being controlled by her father and handle over to her husband's authority , Nora was not able to purse her own desires , and identity . Similarly in the short story “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the marriage between scientist Aylmer and his wife Georgiana falls apart because he's in love with the idea of perfection and not his wife. Geogiana jeopardizes her life to satisfy Aylmer’s passion of perfection. Another literature that reflects on the same idea is the novel, “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Sonya pursues the cruel life of a prostitute because her father is incapable of supporting her family. Sonya sacrifices her reputation to keep her family alive. The sacrifices these three women make take them all in different path.
Women start sacrificing from the time they are born, from being taught how to dress up and taught all the house chorus instead of being educated. The father passes his daughter’s hand to their husband and tie her to another bond. In a marriage a strong foundation is required to build a stable relationship. Many times marriage is defined as the male being the dominant provider, while the female takes upon the rol...


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...ociety expected of her. She makes the decision to forsake her duties towards her children and her husband to go fulfill her duties to herself to find a identity. Women even today in many cultures go through the same situations as Nora and Georgiana sacrificing they identities and desires.


Works Cited

Weinstein, Cindy. "The Invisible Hand Made Visible: The Birth-Mark." Nineteenth-Century Literature 48.(1993): 44-73. Humanities Source. Web. 19 May 2014.
Rogers, Katharine M. (1985): ‘‘A Doll House in a Course on Women in Literature,’’ in Approaches to Teaching Ibsen’s A Doll House, Shafer, Yvonne (ed.). New York: Modern Language Association, p.82.

Nesar,Uddin.(2013): “Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Komol in Saratchandra’s Shesh Proshno: A comparative study from feminist perspective,” in International Journal of English and Literature. Bangladesh, p.408-412.



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