FINAL ENG125 Human Experience Paper

FINAL ENG125 Human Experience Paper - Running head: ASPECT...

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Running head: ASPECT OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE 1 Aspect of Human Experience Literature in Society ENG125
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Aspect of Human Experience Throughout literature authors always have used a form of human experience to create meaning and depth to their stories, plays, and poems. These experiences can stem from societal, political, or personal experiences and can be in relation to gender roles, ageism, social class, religion, race, or sexual preference, to name a few. The aspect seen in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily, and Sylvia Plath’s Daddy is oppression, specifically the oppression of women by men. Ibsen’s Nora was oppressed from a young age by her father, never allowed to form a thought or opinion on her own. This then transfers over to her adult life and her husband, Torvald, then exhibits the same oppressive behavior. Faulkner’s Emily Grierson was also oppressed by her father, the mayor, who turned suitors away and kept her a prisoner in the house. After her father passes she cannot see past his snobbery and she tragically dies alone. Plath’s poem Daddy deals head-on with the oppression she dealt with at the hands of her father. Her short relationship and memories of him followed her into adulthood, she marries a man like her father and the abuse continued until she divorced and took her own life. Ibsen’s A Doll’s House typifies the oppression of women and the way they were viewed at the time when the play was written. In the 1800s it was common for women to be subordinate to men. Nora experiences oppression because her husband Torvald treats her as weak and helpless throughout the play. Ibsen uses metaphors like “little lark” and “little squirrel” (Barnet, Cain, & Burto, 2005, p. 793) to symbolize Nora as small and unimportant. He calls her a “featherhead” during a conversation about finances and states “That is like a woman” (Barnet et al., 2005, p. 794) referring to her lack of understanding about borrowing money. He controls her spending and even controls her eating habits. Nora is also oppressed by Krogstad, who controls her because of a loan taken out with him without her husband’s knowledge. Krogstad’s power
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comes about because it was not legal for a woman to obtain a loan and of her forgery of her late father’s signature on the note. The loan was taken out so she could save Torvald’s life but she cannot tell him because it would be “painful and humiliating for Torvald, with his manly independence, to know that he owed… anything” (Barnet et al., 2005, p. 800-801). He talks to her as if she does not understand anything about finance yet she has taken out a loan and has been responsibly making her payments by doing small jobs and being thrifty. Other female
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FINAL ENG125 Human Experience Paper - Running head: ASPECT...

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