Gender Stereotypes in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and Susan Glaspell's Trifles

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Gender Stereotypes in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and Susan Glaspell's Trifles

In the plays A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen, and Trifles, by Susan Glaspell, the male characters propagate stereotypes and make assumptions concerning the female characters. These assumptions deal with the way in which the male characters see the female characters, on a purely stereotypical, gender-related level. The stereotypes and assumptions made in A Doll's House are manifest in the way Torvald Helmer treats his wife, Nora, and in the way Nora acts to please her husband. These include the beliefs that women are lesser people, childlike in their actions and in need of being controlled. Nora knows as long as she acts in accordance with the way she is
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This position is one he would like Nora to continue to occupy. In line 257, Torvald refers to Nora as "my richest treasure" denoting his attitude toward her as his possession. This stereotypical male oppression serves the purpose of keeping women in their "place" and keeping men on the top of the social structures of family and the world at large. One can easily read the character Nora as immature and childlike, this stereotype being propagated not only by Torvald, but by herself as well. One of the first examples of this immaturity and childishness can be found in the first few pages. Nora has come in from a day of shopping and in these excerpts we can see her child-like manner while interacting with Torvald:

Nora: Oh yes, Torvald, we can squander a little now. Can't we? Just a tiny, wee bit. Now that you've got a big salary and are going to make piles and piles of money. (27-29)

With this excerpt, we see a child-like attitude, not only in Nora's manner of speaking with the statement "Just a tiny, wee bit," but also in her attitude toward money and the unrealistic expectations of making "piles and piles of money." The following example also shows Nora's childish manner in her personal interactions with her husband. Her manner seems more like that of a favorite daughter, accustomed to getting her way, than that of a wife, also keeping with the stereotype concerning control by keeping oppression high:

Nora: (Fumbling at his
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