Realism in a Doll's House Essay

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Elise Nelson Mrs. Richmond AP Lit 10 February 2014 Realism in a Doll’s House By dictionary definition, realism, also known as verisimilitude, is known in literature as “a manner of treating subject matter that presents a careful description of everyday life, usually of the lower and middle classes.” Realistic works of literature would “tell it how it is”, as opposed to a romantic work, which would sugar-coat the conflicts portrayed. According to Richard Chase, the characteristics of realism include “complex ethical choices, plausible situations that lack dramatic elements, a focus on middle class with vernacular diction, and the redemption of the individual within the social world” (Chase). Because Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House displays those qualities of verisimilitude, and therefore creates a message to readers that society can properly function only if men and women are equal, the play fits perfectly into the realistic genre. Nora is faced with an ethical choice that could challenge the typical oppressed role of a woman in the 1800s, and all of the secondary characters around her portray plausible battles in their own lives. Furthermore, the play lacks a romanticized ending and instead focuses on Nora’s epiphany of individuality. In the realistic genre, character is more important than action and plot (Chase). The Literature Network describes realistic characters as “psychologically complicated, multifaceted, and with conflicting impulses and motivations that very nearly replicate the daily tribulations of being human” (Rahn). The main character must often make an ethical choice that would lead to their growth and eventually reveal the author’s message to the audience. Nora’s decision to go behind her husband’s back, an unthinkable act during the time, reveals Ibsen’s challenge for women to take a stand and have an influence in the world. Mrs. Linde says

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