A Critique Of Tone And Diction “A Doll’s House”

The tone and diction in a play, novel, or any other piece of writing is extremely important in portraying a certain theme or idea that the author would like to get across. In A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen used a great amount of diction to get certain tones across in many different scenes throughout the play. We can see how Nora gets treated like a doll or a child throughout the play by Torvald and pretty much accepts it throughout the first two acts. Finally, at the end of Act III we see Nora’s tone change as Henrik Ibsen changes the diction that Nora speaks in to Torvald. This change of diction displaying Nora’s voice to Torvald in the scene where she finally sticks up for herself in Act III. This changed the tone of the play in a way that we have not really seen Nora act towards Torvald before and shows that she does have the ability to have an aggressive tone. Torvald also has a change of tone which we can see through diction in which he has a concerned tone to try to get Nora to stay.

Even in this scene we can still see Torvald treat Nora like a child but also switches to a concerned tone, but not in the right ways. Torvald is not concerned with the way Nora actually feels, but is actually concerned about destroying his self-image. This brings about a human vs. self conflict for Torvald. This is why he has a concerned tone to try to get Nora to stay, but just because he doesn’t want people to know of the separation and losing Nora. We can see this this through diction in the play. While talking to Nora in this scene, Torvald says, “”My poor little Nora, I quite understand; you don’t feel as if you could believe that I have forgiven you. But that is true, Nora, I swear it; I have forgiven you for everything. I know that what you did you did out of love for me”” (Ibsen 64). In this quote we can see both points made earlier on about the diction Torvald uses to portray Nora as a child as well as the diction used to show a concerning tone to get Nora to stay even though we know from reading that he is not concerned for the right reasons.

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In the same scene, we can also see the mature tone that Nora displays throughout the diction here. Nora was talking to Torvald about how he never takes her serious and hasn’t in the entirety of their eight years of marriage. Nora says to Torvald, “”I am not speaking about business matters. I say that we have never sat down in earnest together to try and get at the bottom of anything”” (Ibsen 66). Torvald then replied, “”But dearest Nora, would it have been any good to you?”” (Ibsen 66). This response from Torvald just goes to show how his tone towards Nora, treating her like a child, has not changed a bit even in a serious time and conversation like this. We can see the maturity of Nora as she understands the matter and confronts Torvald about it. This shows us how she is not as child-like as Torvald displays her to be.

All in all, this scene where Torvald receives the letter shows us the true colors of both of these characters. The tone and diction in this scene help to portray this conflict. The mature and aggressive tone of Nora shows us how she is able to stand up for herself against Torvald and has realized she has been treated like a toy throughout her marriage. The response of Torvald to Nora’s defense doesn’t come with much surprise as we still see him treating Nora the same as he always has. The diction including the name-calling by Torvald to Nora further adds to this explanation. Henrik Ibsen uses tone and diction in a great way of portraying each of the characters in A Doll’s House.

Works Cited

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. Mineola, Dover Publications Inc., 1992.

The Theme Of The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

The American dream is a concept that many strive for and will not be deterred from. Within The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby longs to create the most ideal lifestyle with Daisy, someone he has taken an interest in. Gatsby’s attraction to Daisy, who is married to Tom Buchanan, makes him go to extreme lengths to win her over. Ultimately, this leads to his downfall as this fantasy will not be the reality. Although his dream is unattainable, he perseveres. Gatsby’s devotion to his beautiful, yet unrealistic dream of having a relationship with Daisy results in his corruption and demise.

Gatsby’s desire to achieve the American Dream

Gatsby’s desire to achieve the American Dream leads to his efforts to win Daisy’s affection. Gatsby’s interest in Daisy started five years earlier, before he left for the war, “The officer looked at Daisy while she was speaking, in a way that every young girl wants to be looked at some time…” (75). It is evident that Gatsby’s love for Daisy began when they were young and has only grown since then. Gatsby convinces himself that Daisy is the key to fulfilling the American Dream, which makes him aim “for a single green light… at the end of a dock” (21). The narrator Nick Carraway first describes Gatsby by saying, “If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures then there was something gorgeous about him” (6). This suggests that Gatsby’s appearance is almost built, in the sense that Gatsby has planned everything in his life for one sole purpose.

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It is clear that Nick sees Gatsby has plans for his future that were unknown at the time. Also, Gatsby’s wealth is derived from his desire to be with Daisy and live out this fantasy that he had since they first met. “Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay…I think he half expected her to wander into one of his parties…”, and this illustrates the lengths he will go to, so Daisy reciprocates the feelings he expressed towards her (63). He throws parties because he is hopeful that she will attend one. This exemplifies his desire to have a relationship with her. Unfortunately, in the end, “…Daisy tumbles short of his dreams…” because the picture he created exceeds reality (76). Daisy’s denial to the fact that she never loved Tom, crushes Gatsby and his dreams of them living the perfect life together. Gatsby’s expectations overpowered reality and this leads to his defeat.

Gatsby’s continued obsession with Daisy highlights his corruption that results in his death. Gatsby went to extreme measures to become wealthy. He changes his name and is involved in some illegal pursuits in which he gained his wealth from. The ravishing parties at his ornate house were not for his enjoyment, but rather his hope that Daisy would “wander into one of his parties…” (63). He obtains a great deal of money; however, the extent that he went to to do so, changes his character. Most importantly, reality brought Gatsby overwhelming disappointment because of Daisy’s rejection of him. Throughout the past five years, Gatsby attained great wealth, which could have led him to great success. His pursuit of Daisy restricted him from his potential to be great, “…he’d of been a great man…He’d of helped build up the country” (168).

As time passed from when he first met Daisy, her life progressed while Gatsby remained stunted. He was fixed in a fantasy that he would not escape and resulted in his death, “…paid a high price for living too long with a single dream” (161). Gatsby’s actions were for the purpose of gaining wealth and power to attract Daisy, and this represents the American Dream taking precedence over him. In his attempts to charm Daisy, he ends up corrupting himself because he’s living in a fantasy that is unattainable. “Her [Daisy] voice was full of money”, which demonstrates that Daisy is not only Gatsby’s dream, but also represents wealth, and this leads to success in America (127). He believes that Daisy is the key to success; however, that is not the case. Gatsby’s accomplishments could have brought him success without Daisy. Once this fantasy dies, Gatsby dies along with it.

Society’s Rules Prohibit Gatsby from Making his Dream a Reality

Society’s rules prohibit Gatsby from making his dream a reality, however, his determination allows him to persevere. Unlike Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan is aware of her position in society, and does not want to jeopardize this role. She is not satisfied with her marriage; yet, she lives by the social norms of the era, which leaves her morally corrupt because she wants a relationship with Gatsby. Also, the accumulation of wealth differentiates people. “The white palaces of fashionable East Egg” is home to those with “old money”, like Daisy and Tom, who were both born into wealth. They have always lived at the top of the social ladder that society created. On the other side of the bay lives “…the well less fashionable…” West Egg people like Gatsby and Nick, who were not born into high authority, but rather earned it in one way or another (5).

This separation depicts that Gatsby and Daisy cannot conform to the other’s life. Despite the established social norms, like faithful marriage and wealth, Gatsby, nevertheless, persists. His constant efforts may appear negative because Daisy is married, but the passion that Gatsby presents is powerful. Nick tells Gatsby that he “…can’t repeat the past…”, but Gatsby is determined to prove him wrong (87). Also, Jordan explains to Nick, “He’s afraid, he’s waited so long…”, and this shows how vulnerable he is, however, nothing is able to dismantle his determination to be with Daisy. The beauty in all of this is that Gatsby loves Daisy enough to keep fighting for her. Gatsby disregards all the social norms that Daisy has conformed to, and pursues his goal of having the American Dream with her.

Gatsby’s infatuation with achieving the American Dream with Daisy by his side ultimately results in devastation. The spread of the American Dream results in much corruption and desolation. Many people yearn to fulfill the American Dream of reaching their highest potential. Gatsby was willing to go to great lengths to establish his dream that he had since he was fairly young. In acquiring his goal, he becomes corrupt as he is fighting for a fantasy that can never be reality. However, there is light in the dark because he is determined to fight for someone he loves, overlooking social norms. Gatsby’s hope and determination demonstrates his beauty, however, his corruption is the result of the extent that he goes to for Daisy and, in the end, Gatsby, himself, and his fantasy cease to exist.

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