The paradox of confinement and freedom in A Doll?s House and Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.

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In the texts, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, Nora Helmer and Tita (Josefita) are subject to the paradox of confinement and freedom. Tita is restricted to the ranch and kitchen, and Nora to the house. Concurrently, in the seclusion of the kitchen, Tita is liberated from Mama Elena’s control, has freedom of self-expression through cooking, and can openly express her feelings. Josefita is a skilled cook with mystical abilities, and also has some freedom and control in the household. Both characters are victims of role-play. Tita has the role of housewife and Nora is a mother, wife, and dependent. Nora finds freedom in her debt, which gives her a sense of authority and control. The importance of …show more content…
She leaves and is determined to become a fuller, more independent person and believes that ‘[she] must stand alone’ (Ibsen, p81) in order to do this.

Metaphorically, Nora is a doll in a doll’s house, a victim of confinement and patriarchal role-play. Nora merely fulfils Torvald’s and society’s expectations, neglecting her own feelings and aspirations, therefore, jeopardising her own integrity. By Act Three, Nora realises the falsity of her role and she cannot accept society’s laws that she considers wrong. For Nora, forgery would not have been necessary had there not been the barrier of social etiquette. Society dictates that Torvald be the marriage’s dominant partner. Nora and Torvald have a father-daughter type of relationship rather than husband and wife. Helmer controls all the money and patronises her. For example; Torvald says

     ‘There, here! My little singing bird mustn’t go drooping her wings, eh? Has it got the sulks, that little squirrel of mine? [Takes out his wallet] Nora, what do you thing I’ve got here?’ ‘[Quickly turning around] Nora; ‘ Money!’ (Ibsen,p3)

I suggest that this is why Torvald’s rejection of Nora was so heartless, for it undermined his authority as dictated by society. A Doll’s House was not intended to represent everyday reality, but to shock the audience into realisation of their own situation. This play is directed towards the nineteenth century

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