World Lit Paper - Pham 1 Stephanie Pham H. Wilson IB...

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Pham 1 Stephanie Pham H. Wilson IB English HL October 16, 2009 The Death Experience in A Doll’s House and Anna Karenina Anna Karenina and A Doll’s House are two works of literature that can be paralleled in numerous ways: their time frame of publication, their discussion of gender roles concerning the treatment of women, and shared motifs such as unhappy marriages and societal expectations on individuals. The idea of death is also consistently seen throughout both pieces of literature; it is linked to thoughts of suicide or to the loss of close loved ones. In their respective works, Leo Tolstoy and Henrik Ibsen emphasize that everyone suffers through the same stages of grief and then gradually grow to understand the concept of mortality. Both authors, then, attempt to convey the sense of death as a universal experience throughout mankind. One of the ways that both writers express the thematic focus of death in their works is by allowing the reader to have insight into characters’ minds while they are contemplating suicide. In A Doll’s House , Nora begins to feel trapped after Krogstad threatens to reveal her secret forgery to Torvald. Since this is a serious crime to commit, especially for a woman in the 19 th century, Nora knows that her punishment will be severe. Unable to face it, she considers killing herself as a solution to her problem. In a conversation with Krogstad later in the play, he correctly guesses that Nora has thought about suicide as a means to an end and reveals that he has thought about it himself, because “most of us think of that at first. (Ibsen 75)” This line by Krogstad indicates that in response to extremely stressful and seemingly hopeless circumstances, people may have fleeting thoughts of suicide as an answer to their problems because there seems
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Pham 2 to be no other way out of their situation. That concept makes this strand of thought a universal mindset throughout the world. For the rest of the play, Nora constantly makes references to how much time she has left to live before she kills herself. For example, before she and Torvald attend the banquet, Nora glances at her watch and calculates the number of hours she has left
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World Lit Paper - Pham 1 Stephanie Pham H. Wilson IB...

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