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Women's Roles in 'A Doll's House'

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 2116 words Published: 28th Sep 2017

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  1. Background of Study

Drama is one of literary works besides novel and poetry. Drama not only offers the reader an imitation of life but also helps them to understand the life, because life that is drawn in the drama is the reflection of society. All drama deals with some sort of problem, but the term ‘problem play’ refers to those plays concerned with specific social problem. (Peck,1947:88). From that quotation, shows that every play contains with some problems. In order that the reader can conceive contains of the play. Every problem is different, but all problems related with social problem that often occur in daily life.

According to Drama A Pocket Anthology that Aristotle has relatively little to say about the theme of a play, simply nothing that “Thought of the personages is shown in everything to be effected by their language. Because he focuses to such a large degree on the emotional side of the tragedy-its simulation of pity and fear-he seems to give less importance to the role of drama as a serious forum for the discussion of ideas, referring his readers to another of his works. Theme, the central idea or ideas that a play discusses, is important in Greek tragedy and in the subsequent history of the theatre. (Campbell, 2004:13). Thus, it means that the theme of a play can be seen in personages language. The theme is the important thing to be discussesed in a play especially in Greek tragedy and in subsequent history of theatre.

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The theme is the idea of a common base that sustains a literary work contained in the text semantic structure and related equations or the differences (Hartoko in Nurgiyantoro, 2002: 68). The theme is shifted from the motives in the relevant work that determines the events, conflicts, and certain situations. Including the other intrinsic elements, for those reason it should be supporting the clarity theme to be conveyed. The theme became the basis of the development of the whole story, so it animates the whole part of the story. The theme has a common generalization, wider and abstract.

One of the play that the writer choose to analyze is A Doll House. A Doll House is significant for its critical attitude toward 19th century marriage norms. It aroused great controversy at the time, as it concludes with the protagonist, Nora, leaving her husband and children because she wants to discover herself. Ibsen was inspired by the belief that "a woman cannot be herself in modern society," since it is "an exclusively male society, with laws made by men and with prosecutors and judges who assess feminine conduct from a masculine standpoint. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Doll's_House)

This play, one of the works by Henrik Ibsen was written in 1879 and caused a huge controversy even before its premiere at the Theatre Royal Copenhagen. It sold out in the two and a half weeks between its first publication and performance and was considered scandalous by those in authority, both in its treatment of marriage and for the fact that the heroine stands up for herself. http://www.benchtheatre.org.uk/plays90s/dollshouse.php. Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as the godfather of modern drama and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre. His plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when Victorian values of family life and propriety largely held sway in Europe. Ibsen's work examined the realities that lay behind many facades, possessing a revelatory nature that was disquieting to many contemporaries. It utilised a critical eye and free enquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality. (http://www.benchtheatre.org.uk/plays90s/dollshouse.php#author). Especially in A Doll House, Ibsen explores about women roles in domestic life that should face by Nora as the wife of Torvald in that play.

The story tells about the domestic life of Torvald and Nora Helmer. In her life, Nora as the main character, faced the problem that made her did not free in her life. Her husband, Torvald always curb her, started when the Christmas event. When Nora prepared all the necessary, Torvald accused her for spending too much money for that event. He thought that it was for exaggerate thing because in his opinion did not appropriate with the society. Besides the financial matters depend on how the wife manages it and as a wife should manages it carefully.

This is an interesting play that can be analyzed through structural approach. The writer choose the women roles in domestic life in A Doll House drama by Henrik Ibsen to analyze with the theme of the play because the whole story is contains of women roles that the main character faced in the domestic life. Beside that the writer choose this topic because in the previous study from student of Petra Christian University entitled A Study of Nora’s Disappointment as A Woman Toward Social Expectations that are Represented By Her Father and Her Husband (Helmer) As Seen in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House. There have been analyzed about the factors that make Nora disappointed toward the expectation of her father and her husband. She also encouraged to find out how Nora solves her disappointment by using literary devices such as characterization and conflict. (Olivia, 2005:V)

The writer is interested in analyzing A Doll House by applying structural approach to reveal women roles in domestic life in A Doll House. There are two roles that the writer wants to reveal from this play, they are women as financial manager and women as housewife.

  1. Statement of The problem

Based on the background of the study. The problem can be formulated as follow:

  1. What are women roles at Domestic life in A Doll House?

1.3 Objective of The study

Based on the statement of the problem above of the problem, there is such of the objective of this study:

To know the women roles in domestic life in A Doll House?

1.4 Significance of the study

This study has two significances; they are theoretically and practically. Theoretically, this study can be useful for those who concern with literature especially for those who are interested in analyzing literary works using thematic analysis. Practically, this study will contribute to know the theory of literature. Especially, this study expected to give the readers the understanding of women roles in domestic life(…………………..).

1.5 Scope and Limitation

The elements of drama are divided into two, intrinsic elements and extrinsic elements. This study will discuss about the intrinsic elements of fiction such as the theme, plot, and character characterization. The scope of this study focuses on the theme related to Nora’s character in A Doll House. This study limited on on the main character and some supprorting character such as Tolvard Helmer. The writer use theory A History of Women in the west. To avoid moving away from main discussion, this is study is limited on two aspect in theory A History of Women in the west. by Francoise Thebaud such as women as housewife, and women as the financial manager.

1.6 Research Method

1.6.1 Research Design

This study is in the form of literary analysis. This study is designed as descriptive qualitative research. Firstly analyze the play itself by concerning on women roles in domestic life is in A Doll House……Then the writer concludes there are two roles in this study. The identifying will be done while reading purpose to find out the point related to women roles in Nora’s character.

1.6.2 Approach

To do analysis in this study is applied the literary approach. The writer used structuralism approach. Structuralism can be viewed as one of the literary approach that emphasizes the study of the relationship between elements of the development literature is concerned (Abrams in Nurgiantoro, 2002:37).

Structural analysis of literary works, which in this case fiction, can be done by identifying, assessing and describing the functions and relationships between the intrinsic elements of fiction is concerned. Identify and describe how the state of events, plot, character and characterization, setting, poin of view etc. (Nugiantoro, 2002:37)

1.6.3 Source of data

This study analyzes A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen as the main data. The play was publised in 1879 in Norway. The book that will be analyzed is A Penn State Electronic Classics Series Publication Copyright © 2001-10 The Pennsylvania State University, which consists of 80 pages of 3 acts. The data will form of sentences and statements that related to women roles from the play.

1.6.4 Steps of Collecting Data

The technique of collecting data in this study will be done in sequences as follows:

  1. Reading and understanding the contents of the original play that would be analyzed.
  2. Identifying the statements of the play about the women roles in domestic life in that support the data.
  3. Collecting the data that are suitable with women roles.
  4. Classifying the data based on the statement of the problem.

1.6.5 Technique of analyzing data

After collecting the data, the writer continues with the next is analyzing the data. The following steps are.

  1. Analyzing the women as financial manager
  2. Analyzing the women as housewife.
  3. Making the conclusion based on the data analysis.

The writer analyze the data through interpretation by using description and explanation. In writing this study, the writer applies intrinsic approach dealing with theme, plot, character, and characterization.

1.7 Definition of Key Terms

There are some terms that must be explained to make those terms clear. Those terms are :

  1. Domestic life: One who lives in the family of an other, as hired household assistant, a house servant. http://www.definitions.net/definition/domestic
  2. Structural analysis of literary works, which in this case fiction, can be done by identifying, assessing and describing the functions and relationships between the intrinsic elements of fiction is concerned. Identify and describe how the state of events, plot, character and characterization, setting, point of view etc. (Nugiantoro, 2002:37)
  1. Thesis Organization

The organization of the study is arranged into four chapters. The first chapter consists of six parts; background of the study, statement of the problems, objectives of the study, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, research method that consist of research design, research approach, source of data, technique of collecting data, and steps of analyzing data. The second chapter discusses about the theorical background of the work or called review of related literature which contains the theories that are use in the analysis, which is analyzing the the women roles in domestic life that is described in A Doll House. The third presents the analysis that would be core of the study. And the last chapter or fourth chapter is the conclusion of the study and as a result of the analysis in this study.



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