About Happiness in Literature

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In the novel, The Awakening, by Kate Chopin and the play, A Doll’s House, by Henrik Isben, both undress the situation revolving around a person’s belief and what society is set to believe. In, The Awakening, a female is lead to commit an enormous sin, adultery. Edna, from the novel, is held to responsibilities and titles that she knows are not fitted for her. So, Edna chooses to follow her spirit which make her feel free and alive, but in the end do lead to an unfortunate event. In, A Doll’s House, a women struggles against social conformity causing a downfall in her marriage. Torvolt, from the play, is torn between the two ideas of one’s values and society’s values due to being blinded by his desire to be accepted. He knows that with following his beliefs there’s a chance of happiness, but also exclusion from society he tries so hard to please. As a result he lets fear take over and tells him to stick with the patriarchal beliefs to be safe. Nora, from the play, does what she pleases as long as Torvolt, her husband, does not know about her matriarchal actions. If she is caught she risks her marriage and children which she holds dear. The three characters test the topic by realizing the patriarchal society’s wrongs and imagine themself being matriarchal which is supporting what they value. Chopin and Ibsen demonstrate that one must defy social norms to protect one’s personal beliefs in order to achieve self discovery. This is presented by Edna, Torvolt, and Nora’s daily actions in their life. Edna’s rebellion against the patriarchal world allows her to preserve her views and realize one’s purpose in life. Edna is given responsibility, but denies it any attention because she values herself and sees no gain in her duties. One of Edna’s duties since she is a parent is her children, to nurture and love them. ?I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but i wouldn’t give myself. I can’t make it more clear; it’s only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself it me'(Chopin 47). Edna is not necessarily saying she would die for them as a way of giving up her life but rather money, clothes, and her status. When Edna says she would not give herself up, its an effort to say she will not give up her values, morals, beliefs, or anything that makes up her mental state. To prove that her views truly go against what society says are her actions and how they are perceived by other individuals. ?but she doesn’t act well. She’s odd, she’s not like herself. I can’t make her out, and I thought perhaps you’d help me'(65). Edna is finally back in the city and Robert, her dear companion, is now gone for Mexico. People believe that Edna is acting this way as a result of Robert being gone, but in reality this how she truly feels she should act. She has been acting this way because she knows this is not something she wants to be doing. In the end the world she lives in does not accept her which she does not tolerate and swallow. She thought of L?©once and the children. They were apart of her life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and soul. How Mademoiselle Reisz would have laughed, perhaps sneered, if she knew! (116). Edna does not let herself be devoured by the society that does not support her and instead chooses to be taken away by the heavens in hope to feel accepted. By disobeying and not living up to the expectations she is given she exemplifies not fitting into the world’s status quo. Torvolt ignores his values to secure his reputation in the social structure which leads to his self misery. Torvolt, seeming like a down to earth man, but is actual controlling in order to feel content in his life affairs, yet in the long run is still not satisfied. He is always worried about being in debt or owing others and living up to an expectation of a successful man and having an ideal family. In the end Torvolt and Nora have a serious discussion and debate over being one’s true self, which Torvolt believes is not necessary. NORA. I have other duties just as sacred. HEL. That you have not. What duties could those be? NORA. Duties to myself. HEL. Before all else you are a wife and a mother(Ibsen 68). He assumes that in order to feel free from the society one must follow its norms. Torvolt expresses that one’s values should be based off of their role, but little does he know that accepting and believing in their beliefs will make let the individual feel whole. Torvolt also stresses the idea of morals, of right and wrong. HEL. …I suppose you have some moral sense?…You talk like a child. You don’t understand the condition of the world in which you live. NORA. No, I don’t. But now I am going to try. I am going to see if I can make out who is right, the world or I(69) Torvolt himself needs to understand the environment around him in order to justify his beliefs and tell if they are actually his. Torvolt unable to defend his belief will help him realize that they were never his to believe, and will learn what he believes is right. Torvolt is in a world under the patriarchal impression that prevents him from understanding sacrifice. I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora???bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves(70). Torvolt needs to sacrifice something dear to grasp the feeling it feels like to have gratitude and self satisfaction. Sacrificing someone or something dear helps you see little details that will help an individual cope with their lost. Torvolt’s ability to notice one’s values will help maneuver him to accomplish his own. The way Nora handles the social norms help guide her to discover her own priorities. Nora defies the rules given to her by taking advantage of the any type power she knows she has. Nora is capable to survive the walls and boundaries that her husband, Torvolt, has set by creating her own decisions. [Puts the bag of macarons into her pocket and wipes her mouth] (2). Nora’s ownership of the macaroons gives her a taste of freedom and displays that she has thoughts of breaking free from the obligation that humanity upholds her to. Nora tends to depend on herself to keep the other individuals around her. MRS. L. And did your husband never get to know from your father that the money had not come from him(12). Nora knows that society and especially Torvolt would not be pleased with her actions so she keeps secrets and burdens to herself. To follow the norm Nora tries to stall, sacrifice, and think on her feet while playing doll house with her husband. NORA [quickly]. He mustn’t get the letter. Tear it up. I will find some means of getting money(44). Nora tries to stall Mr. Krog from exposing her wrong deed to her husband by saying she will find the money, and that is also a way she thinks on her feet since she is so flustered. Nora’s courageous behavior lead her to take a step in life towards acknowledging her power and influence on the world. The novel and play prove that one shall stand up to the patriarchal ideals to shield the individual’s value and views to accomplish one’s character. Edna admits with actions that she does not care for the norms and will not follow them. Torvolt during his conversations with Nora reveals what he needs to be open-minded and sacrifice to feel self fulfillment. Nora unrolls how she deals with the norm, which she cannot handle, with the help of Kristine. For their actions of understanding themself, others and society each character was able to grow spiritually as a person. As a society we are restricted to fully express our emotions and thought, and have to give confidence to our self to share our ideas that will be rejected by some form of group in the world. Everyone in the world struggles with finding their purpose in life, what they believe in, what could be right and wrong, and telling if what they think is okay think because instead of being embraced for the knowledge they carry, they are shunned.

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