The Effects Of The Female Characters' Departure In Both A Doll’s House And Like Water For Chocolate

1377 words - 6 pages

In both A Doll’s House and Like Water for Chocolate Henrik Ibsen and Laura Esquival respectively, each make one of their women characters leave not only their houses but even their lifestyles and cultures. Nora in A Doll’s House leaves her home in search of her true inner self. While Gertrudis in Like Water for Chocolate leaves her house in her own endeavor to escape Mama Elena’s repression. Bothe Ibsen and Esquival make use of a variety of literary devices and styles in order to show to the readers/audience the effect the departure of Nora and Gertrudis has on not only the other characters in the work but also the entire work itself.
Each of the two characters exit the works under different circumstances and it is this dissimilarity that causes the effects of the departures to be different. In the novel, Like Water for Chocolate, Gertrudis leaves the house under very silent manner. She does not discuss the fact that she is about to elope with anyone in the work. One of Gertrudis’ main intentions of leaving is to take up the role of a man. She wants to take up this role of a man as it the only role in which she will have authority and power in the Mexican society. She joins the revolutionary forces and hence she is likened to a man and given the authority and power she desires. She is so overcome by this desire that “she ran out of the little enclosure just as she was, completely naked.” (Esquival 51) Esquival uses magical realism to explain in great detail the scene of Gertrudis’ exit, she uses very vivid imagery to describe the scene. One of the main differences between the exit of Gertrudis and Nora, in A Doll’s House, is the fact that Gertrudis has a very silent exit and she talks to no one about it. However, in A Doll’s House, Nora clearly elucidates to Torvald that she is going to leave and she even provides him with her reasons for doing so. She points out to Torvald that their marriage was a clear failure when she questions Torvald, “How could you ever teach me to be a proper wife? Your wife?” (Ibsen 82). To this question Torvald is unable to provide a reasonable answer hence proving Nora’s point about the failure of their marriage. Further, the sudden change in Nora’s behavior during the second half of the play is significant as it symbolizes her clear intent to depart from the house in search of her inner-self.
The egression of one of the female protagonists from each of the works has a profound effect of the other characters and their development. The departure of Gertrudis is met with both extreme anger and sadness –opposite emotions. Mama Elena’s reaction to Gertrudis’ ‘elopement’ is one of absolute outrage. She in a way almost disowns Gertrudis by “burned [burning] Gertrudis’ birth certificate” (Esquival 55) and claiming that she “didn’t want to hear her name mentioned ever again.” (Esquival 55) The diction of the sentence and the usage of the word “ever” are significant as it shows the extent of Mama Elena’s rage and disavowal...

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