The Siege Mentality Of The Bourgeoisie

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Thomas G. Pelham III IB World Literature Dr. Smith 20 May 2015 The Siege Mentality of the Bourgeoisie in Ibsen’s A Doll House By the time of Ibsen’s A Doll House (1879) the bourgeoisie was firmly established as the dominant class in Europe. To legitimize their power capitalists defined themselves against other classes, claiming they possessed inherent qualities justifying their position. A rigid moral system and social code reinforced class stratification. These structures also enforced conformity within, thus pressuring even the powerful to maintaining the appearance of conformity. The home was the fortress of the bourgeoisie. It was the location where social identity gained its greatest expression, but this controlled space that …show more content…

This statement does two things. First, it connects the well being of the children with the need to prevent moral corruption. Second, it reinforces Nora’s role within the strict limits of child rearing. The attempt to gain distance from her children is both an attempt to transcend the limiting role defined by propriety and an expression of her fear of her corrupting them. This links the fear of Krogstad’s moral corruption with the fear of Nora’s forgery and its transgression against social norms. This reifies the fear of poor parenting as Nora ultimately separates herself from the family in order to protect her children. However, the home also functioned as an indicator of class. Therefore there was extreme pressure to prevent penetration of the home by the outside world, and to preserve the ideal of domestic tranquility. Nora summarizes this, prior to the party, when she is talking about Krogstad’s letter: “You mustn’t read such things now; there mustn’t be anything ugly between us” (92). The wife is the symbol of domesticity. The home is moth a social limit and a space of feminine control. As a result “anything ugly between us” is analogous to ugliness between Torvald and his house. The domestic space may be controlled by the female, but it serves the husband. Torvald’s ideal home is invaded by “ugliness”. Krogstad’s letter is still in the mailbox and the loan still exists. What Torvald imagines is secure, is actually a tenuous set of power relations that

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