Ibsen and A Doll’s House2

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					Ibsen and A Doll’s
                  Henrik Ibsen
• “What is it to be a
  poet? It was a long time
  before I realized that to
  be a poet is, most of all,
  to see; but mark well, to
  see in such a way that
  what is seen is
  perceived by his
  audience just as the
  poet saw it.” (1874)
         Henrik Ibsen (1828 1828-
• Ibsen born in Norway into a wealthy family that
  would become bankrupt.
• While in Norway, wrote (poems, plays) and was
  creative director of The Norwegian Theater in
• Disillusioned with career and with country, he
  moved to Italy in 1864
• Began a period of 27 years abroad (Italy and
  Germany). Moved back to Norway in 1891.
• Gained international acclaim as a writer during
  his life.
           Ibsen’s Importance
• Ibsen considered the “father of modern
• Gave the stage its first distinctively modern
  characters: complex, contradictory individuals
  driven by a desire for something (joy? Sense
  of self?) that they can barely recognize or
  General Notes on Ibsen’s Dramatic
    Method: 3 Main Techniques
• 1: visualize the individual characters
• “Before I write one word, I have to have the
  character in mind through and through.”
• Borderline hallucinations!
• Character’s individual humanity is primary
  General Notes on Ibsen’s Dramatic
    Method: 3 Main Techniques
• 2: Perceive relationships
• The individual is best understandable in a
  social context.
• The characters view each other with
  distortions and with discernment; the
  audience participates in evaluating this
  mixture of illusion and truth.
  General Notes on Ibsen’s Dramatic
    Method: 3 Main Techniques
• 3: Poet as prophet
• The characters’ struggles reflect the vast
  conflicts that can bring about a readjustment
  of social relations on every level.
A Doll’s House (1879)
               A Doll’s House
• Based on a true story . . .
• When the play first debuted, the audience
  was shocked . . .
• First English actress offered the part of Nora
  turned it down . . .
• AS YOU READ consider: significance of title;
  the setting of the play; details of
  characterization; use of motifs and symbols.
              Literary Devices
• Foil-usually a minor character who highlights the
  major character. The foil may present contrasting
  characteristics or behavior.
• Symbol- a story element that means what it is
  literally but represents something more. A
  literary symbol can be an object, a place, a
  character, an action, or a situation
• Exposition - The work’s introduction in which
  background information is given for the plot
• An indirect reference to
  some piece of knowledge
  not actually mentioned.
  Allusions usually come
  from a body of
  information that the
  author presumes the
  reader will know. For
  example, an author who
  writes, “She was another
  Helen,” is alluding to the
  proverbial beauty of
  Helen of Troy.
             Three Types of Irony
• Situational irony:
• an outcome which is opposite of
  what is expected “The Accidental
  Tourist” by Anne Tyler.
• "Seated in a stenographer's chair,
  tapping away at a typewriter that
  had served him through four years
  of college, he wrote a series of
  guidebooks for people forced to
  travel on business." The writer
  hated travel.
                  Verbal Irony:
• The speaker intends to be
  understood as meaning
  something that contrasts
  with the literal or usual
  meaning of what he/she
• Pride & Prejudice by Jane
  When Mr. Bennett refers
  to Wickham as perhaps
  his "favorite" son-in-law
                  Dramatic irony:
• A situation in a literary work
  when the reader
  understands more than the
  characters; the characters
  are in a state of ignorance.
• Example: Romeo and Juliet
  by William Shakespeare.
  When Romeo finds Juliet in
  a drugged sleep, he
  assumes her to be dead and
  kills himself. Upon
  awakening to find her dead
  lover beside her, Juliet then
  kills herself.
• Imagery and explaining their effect on the
  work of world literature-the formation of
  mental images, figures, or likenesses of things,
  or of such images collectively: the dim
  imagery of a dream.
• Analyzing the importance of tone- the attitude
  a writer takes towards a subject or character:
  serious, humorous, sarcastic, ironic, satirical,
  tongue-in-cheek, solemn, objective.
A word to the wise . . .
CSI: Classroom Students Investigate
• Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”
• Read and Investigate…
• Hypothesize
            Your Hypothesis
• TRUE/REAL cause of death: ____?!______
• What textual clues (evidence) can you find in
  the story to support your hypothesis?
• Both “The Story of an Hour” and A Doll House
  explore similar thematic issues:
  love/power/control/self/economics/ freedom
              What happened?
•   Name of deceased: Mrs. Mallard
•   Age: youngish
•   Date of death: Spring, 1894
•   Place of death: home (stairway)
•   Stated cause of death: “heart disease”

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