A Society Defines Conformity

In: English and Literature

Submitted By rebecca051510
Words 652
Pages 3
The statement “a society defines ‘conformity’ as ‘that which is sane’” from Literature: The Human Experience can be analyzed through Henrick Ibsen’s drama A Doll’s House. This play allows the audience to examine the life of a woman under pressure to conform to a society’s standards, of whose manipulation she is unaware. As her eyes are opened to the dehumanization and self-serving nature of her friends and family, Nora finds that what she thought to be “sane” all along, really is quite the opposite.

Webster’s Dictionary defines “conformity” as “action in accordance with some specified standard or authority.” This definition validates that those around Nora dictated her way of living. Torvald Helmer, Nora’s husband, views her as a child, or incapable of independent or intelligent thought which causes Nora to not delve into deeper issues and to “grow” into an adult. Toward the end of the play, Nora says to Torvald, “I was your little skylark, your doll, which you would in future, treat with doubly care, because it was so brittle and fragile.” Torvald never saw her as anything more than a play-thing, a doll, or someone that lacked knowledge or depth. It is as if society has ingrained in Torvald that women are to be treated as children and as though they cannot think for themselves.

The term sane, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, means “mentally sound, able to anticipate and appraise the effect of one’s actions.” In Nora, Ibsen creates a woman who is mentally sound and able to be decisive. Nora shows herself capable of making her own decisions through her effort to procure a loan for the well-being of her family, the consequences of which she is fully aware. The text also shows her capable of thinking critically about her debt and the impending situation with Nils Krogstad regarding their secret. While Nora may be blind to society’s manipulation, she is not…...

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