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In this essay I will be comparing what role power and money has on the main character of "A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and "A doll's house" by Henrik Isben and how it alters their lives in both positive and negative ways. The lack of power in both stories critically affects the lives of the protagonists and controls their lives in many different ways.
Power is a very important aspect in both of the literature books and it controls the lives of both of the protagonists. In both stories there is a complete lack of power in the characters personality, Ivan is powerless in the prison camp ruled by the soviet legal system that has total control and Nora is powerless as she is living in a man dominated society where her husband controls all aspects."Free. To be free, absolutely free. To spend time playing with the children. To have a clean, beautiful house, the way Torvald likes it."- The woman had their role in life, the role that men decided for them and they had no choice. This is exceedingly similar to Ivan's case where he has no choice what to do, he is given a job to build a wall in very callous and icy conditions and he has to do it, a job given to him by the soviet legal system also a man dominated society. He is expected to his job and likewise Nora is expected to do her part. They have no control and are not allowed to make their own decisions or express their opinions, everything is set for them.
The lack of power that we can see in this man dominated society affects both characters through imprisonment, Nora being both physically and mentally imprisoned and Ivan being physically imprisoned. Nora is a prisoner in her own home, imprisoned by her husband Torvald who she must obey at do as he wants and also imprisoned by Krogstad, bribing her so that he can keep his job. We also see in the case of Ivan that some prisoners have more power than others and they abuse their powers by acting as dictators. Also the fact that the treatment was unfair and unjust was another cause for the power issues around the camp and for the poor camp life." Every portion was underweight - the only question was by how much. Twice a day you looked at it and tried to set your mind atÂ rest. Maybe they haven't robbed me blind this time?". This is very similar to Noras case where all the power is in her husbands hands.
She has been doing this all her life as she was also a prisoner to her father doing all as he pleased as well. Ivan is physically imprisoned in the soviet camp and equally to Nora's situation he must obey what the warden and the people in charge tell him. Both characters see this imprisonment as their life, as their job doing as the authority figure pleases, not necessarily what they want. Torvard is extremely controlling over Nora so he is sought of like a prison guard exactly like what Ivan faces on a daily bases. There will always be some form of rebellion when there is too much control and we clearly see that in both stories. Nora rebels against her husband by lying and breaking his rules about eating sugary sweets, she tells him straight to his face that she never went to the shop and hasn't done anything that he doesn't want but in truth she has been eating macaroons behind his back. Also she had forged her father's signature to get a loan which is rebelling against society at that time as women were not allowed to do so. But this plan backfired as Krogstad realised and uses it against her to get what he wants, he has a power over her. Ivan also rebels against the prison camp when he tricks the towel boy and always takes the best towel for himself and when he sneaks food like the bread in his mattress or when he takes extra oatmeal. Both encounter rebellion but both for different reasons. We can evidently see that Ivan is rebelling more for survival to make it to the next day whereas Nora is rebelling for no apparent reason, just to go against her husband and to get back at him for imprisoning her.
Furthermore the main characters have a lack of identity all brought on by their powerless situation. This lack of identity is truly degrading for the protagonists as their "masters" do not even have the decency to call them by their proper name. In Ivan's case, the prisoners are called by letters and numbers. They do not have a name in the prison, they are nobodies, total ununiqueness. Nora is continuously being called by animal names by Torvald such as squirrel and lark and he also makes the situation even more degrading for her by adding little before each name, as if he is bigger, that he is in charge and he has to let her know it.
After all lack of power and its effects such as the lack of identity and rebellion freedom is a big issue. Nora gets freedom after her husband scolding her when he thought she was going to get him in her mess. She leaves all of it behind, her husband, her children and her duties as a woman to pursue what she wants to pursue. She is freed from Krogstad when Mrs. Linde gets back together with him and she is no longer in debt. Ivan on the other hand doesn't get freedom he has been in prison for many years and will probably be in prison till he dies, but he still accepts it and never complains living his life day by day. But in a way we can say he is free in the sense that he has no worries, he has already lost everything in his life so he can no longer lose anything.
From the financial aspect of it all both situations are quite similar, Ivan being in the Soviet Union System which was very harsh conditions and lack of concern for prisoners which shows a lack of money in that sector. This was because they never wanted to waste money on people with little importance. Nora has no financial power as she is paying back her debt to Krogstad and this affects many aspects of her life gravely such as her marriage as she cannot tell Torvald that she owes money as this would be a huge disappointment to him and it causes a strain on their marriage. In both situations the lack of money makes life a lot more difficult for the protagonist.
In conclusion I think that even though the characters have faced and have finished down completely different roads they are both happy and both of them have gained a power in their life. Nora now having control over her life and her decisions as she is now separated from her husband and she is the one who made the decision and Ivan having a certain kind of power in his life as if he doesn't fear anything, he doesn't fear the fact of dying in this prison camp, living the rest of his life in a cold cell in harsh conditions. He has a positive view on his hard life, he's not complaining, only living his life the way it is. He is the leader of his own mind, his own little world that he lives in. To be able to do that you must have a pretty powerful mind, his power is his mind.