The Female Bildungsroman: an Analysis of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House Through the Lens of Luce Irigaray
This study attempts to uncover how Nora, the main character of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, matures and later challenges the patriarchal norms of her society. Victorian women typically were regarded as individuals whose sole responsibility was keeping a successful household and were bound to exist within the isolated world of home; once out of this world, they enter the realm of men where they are treated as inferiors. Naturally, women had adapted these characteristics; Nora is a typical Victorian woman except that at some point of her life, she refuses to stay passive, looks within, redefines femininity for herself, and once she perceives her potential, rebels against all the normalized perceptions that overlook women's free will. Focusing on her essence, she can finally express herself for the first time, which leads to her self-discovery journey in a path that is less tainted by patriarchal norms. The present study leaning toward Luce Irigaray's theory – i.e., a woman is deprived of independent social existence and subjectivity, she is considered merely a mother who associates with object and nature, whereas man is associated with culture and subjectivity – aims to illustrate how Nora reaches self-awareness and therefore disturbs masculine symbolic order.