Upton Sinclair, ed. (18781968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.
|A Dolls House|
By Henrik Ibsen
(Norwegian dramatist, 18281906. A play which may be called the source of the modern Feminist movement. In the following scene a young wife announces her revolt)
|NORA:While I was at home with father, he used to tell me his opinions, and I held the same opinions. If I had others, I concealed them, because he wouldnt have liked it. He used to call me his doll-child, and played with me as I played with my dolls. Then I came to live in your house|
| HELMER:What an expression to use about our marriage!|
| NORA (undisturbed):I mean I passed from fathers hands into yours. You settled everything according to your taste; and I got the same tastes as you; or I pretended toI dont know whichboth ways, perhaps. When I look back on it now, I seem to have been living here like a beggar, from hand to mouth. I lived by performing tricks for you, Torvald. But you would have it so. You and father have done me a great wrong. It is your fault that my life has been wasted.|
| HELMER:Why, Nora, how unreasonable and ungrateful you are. Havent you been happy here?|
| NORA:No, only merry. And you have always been so kind to me. But your house has been nothing but a play-room. Here I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I used to be papas doll-child. And the children, in their turn, have been my dolls. I thought it fun when you played with me, just as the children did when I played with them. That has been our marriage, Torvald.
And that is why I am now leaving you!|| 5|
| HELMER (jumping up):Whatdo you mean to say|
| NORA:I must stand quite alone, to know myself and my surroundings; so I cant stay with you.|
| HELMER:Nora! Nora!|
| NORA:I am going at once. Christina will take me for tonight.|
| HELMER:You are mad! I shall not allow it. I forbid it.|| 10|
| NORA:It is no use your forbidding me anything now. I shall take with me what belongs to me. From you I will accept nothing, either now or afterwards.
| HELMER:To forsake your home, your husband, and your children! You dont consider what the world will say.|
| NORA:I can pay no heed to that. I only know what I must do.|
| HELMER:It is exasperating! Can you forsake your holiest duties in this world?|
| NORA:What do you call my holiest duties?|| 15|
| HELMER:Do you ask me that? Your duties to your husband and your children.|
| NORA:I have other duties equally sacred.|
| HELMER:Impossible! What duties do you mean?|
| NORA:My duties towards myself.|
| HELMER:Before all else you are a wife and a mother.|| 20|
| NORA:That I no longer believe. I think that before all else I am a human being, just as much as you areor at least I will try to become one.|