Question 2: What “petty considerations” lie behind Torvald’s insistence on firing Krogstad?
At the beginning of Act Two, Nora persists on trying to stop Torvald from firing her debt-keeper Krogstad. Krogstad had threatened Nora, with exposing her if she did not persuade Torvald into letting Krogstad keep his job. In order to do this, Nora uses her husbands demeaning language, which she knows he likes, in order to seduce him into cooperating “If a little squirrel were to ask ever so nicely… would you do something for it?” ( page 41 ) Torvald does not submit entirely to her seduction, and asks her what she wants. Nora begs her husband to let Krogstad keep his job, however Torvald declines due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, Torvald does not wish to appear like he gave into his wife, and let Krogstad keep his job: “If it ever got around that the new manager had been talked over by his wife…” ( page 42 ). Torvald admits that Krogstad is good at his job, however cannot bear to let him keep it because of a second reason, that seems very petty to Nora: Torvald cannot stand Krogstad because he treats him too familiarly, as they were friends as children. Torvald is embarrassed because of the fact that Krogstad treats him “as an equal” and uses his first name. “ There’s no reason why you shouldn't know we were once on terms of some familiarity. And he, in his tactless way, makes no attempt to hide the fact, particularly when other people are present.” After he admits this, Nora enrages him by calling him petty, which makes him send the letter of dismissal immediately. As one can see, Torvald is behaving very childish and indeed petty about the situation. Nora achieves the exact opposite of what she set out to do.
Question 8: Analyse Nora and her evolution in Act Two. Define her position at the end of the act.
In the beginning of Act Two, Nora was panicking about what would happen if her husband fired Krogstad. She was quite scared, and paranoid. She also gave foreshadowing elements, about her future departing to her maid: “Oh worse things might happen” ( page 35 ) “ Do you think they would forget their mummy if she went away for good? “. She is insecure, talking to herself and not really making much sense. She is till “possessed” by the people in her surroundings: for example her maid calling her “ MY poor little Nora “. She continues her paranoia about the debt situation further on in the Act: “ When you have paid back everything you owe, you do get your IOU back again, don’t you? “
When her husband comes home, Nora deceives him, by making Kristine leave to see the children. I believe that she was hiding the torn dress from her husband. At this point of the act, Nora decides to take things more into her own hands. She has to stop her husband from firing Krogstad. Something interesting is the fact that instead of calling Nora a possessive pet name, Torvald calls her “little rogue”. A rogue is a dishonest or unprincipled person. Nora fits that description almost instantly, as she starts trying to immorally seduce her husband: “If a little squirrel were to ask ever so nicely… would you do something for it?” ( page 41 ). Torvald asks to know what it is the “little squirrel” would be asking, however instead of giving a straight answer, because Nora needs confirmation that he will say yes, before giving the answer, Nora continues, by stating that she would perform marvellous tricks and sing: “scamper about and do all sorts of marvellous tricks” “ would sing all day long” ( page 41 ). Once Torvald figures out what she wants, and asks her if it is about Krogstad, we can see in the stage directions that Nora “comes closer”. Nora is still trying to seduce her husband. However torvald realises, and goes back to “possessing” Nora: “ My dear Nora “. Nora, keeps trying: “ yes, it’s awfully sweet of you”. And tries to tell him that it is because of the things Krogstad writes in papers, however the reader knows that it…