by Elena Lagon
According to Emma Goldman, the degree to which Nora is devoted to her husband is almost infinite until the end of the play: “When a woman loves as Nora does, nothing else matters”. She “works hard” to “serve her husband,” yet her purpose is solely to be happy for her family, according to Goldman. Indeed, Torvald says that Nora’s “holiest duties” are to her husband and children and if she is neither the breadwinner, nor a nanny, nor a housekeeper, her only duty may be to be light-hearted.
So which is it? Does Nora take care of her family as a mother should, or is she freed by being cared for so she can be happy for her family? Are her jobs, like the Real Housewives Jules mentioned (a guilty pleasure of mine…), to pleasure her husband, dress her children and beautify herself? I think for Nora, the caring for and being cared for are one in the same. When she raises her concerns with Torvald, perhaps he is angry at her disruption of the peace more than anything. Nora rips off the facade of happiness put on by many women of the time, and with it, what Torvald sees as her only duty is neglected.