Friday, September 4, 2009
I had a request for a colour version of this shot. The doll is quite a potent symbol, although we tend to forget Russia, Native Americans and of course Haiti when considering them. This doll however, reminds me of Victorian dolls, which in turn reminds me of the Henry Ibsen Play, A Doll's House. Much is written about symbols in this play - it's a great favourite for sixth form exam questions. But of all the symbols mentioned, the one that tends to be forgotten is the doll. Nora of course is the doll in the house, the trapped plaything resenting her position in a patriarchal society. The doors, the house, Christmas tree, the tarantella are symbols too - but the slamming of the door is merely a sign - unless there is a number. Deceitful Nora herself is the doll, dancing and singing with her children and generally disporting herself youthfully around the house. Thorvald, her duped husband, calls her a "squirrel" and a "lark". Nora is a bit of a giddy goat, trapped by her own underhanded behaviour. Her deceit was well meant and for good. But the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. In the end we are faced with the question, should Nora leave the Doll's House? Leave the children? Or like the real-life wife she was modelled on, be removed and placed in a lunatic asylum? These questions I leave to my readers.