Friday, May 17, 2019

Examining Henrik Ibsen’s Torvald and John Updike’s Sammy Essay

Some men seem to like their women mere(a). The man who desires the simple woman sees her as easier to manipulate and as a more positive reflection on himself. A man who has a simple woman can believe himself superior in almost totally things such is the case with John Updikes character Sammy in the short story A & P, and Henrik Ibsens character Torvald Helmer from his play A Dolls House. Each of these men views the ground as al one and only(a) an extension of himself, and the people in the world, especially the women, as decorative items purely for his personal manipulation and amusement.Ironically, by the end of both Updikes short story and Ibsens play, the women have turned the mens worlds on edge and taken control of the universe. Sammy is a checker at the local supermarket, and he spends his age sucking his world go by while standing in judgment of those who enter his domain. The world that goes by Sammy is populated by a variety of customersall seemingly womenwho he descri bes as witches, sheep, and this ones (Updike 959, 960).That he feels superior to womenall womenis made obvious by the way in which he sizes them up. The three bathing-suit-clad girls who atomic number 18 about to change Sammys life are described in terms of their physical attri exceptes and the phase to which Sammy is attracted to distributively. While he initially admires the girl in the plaid green two-piece who has a life-threatening tan and the sweet broad soft-looking can with . . . two crescents of white just under it, he after realizes she and girl number two are merely preludes to the one he presumes to be their leaderthe one he calls the queen (959, 960). Torvald Helmer is no different from Sammy he too objectifies womenspecifically his wifeand he lives happily presuming that females are simple and exit always remain so.Ibsens play opens with Nora entering the home and Torvalds greeting her shortly thereafter. During their brief exchange, Torvald uses the terms little lark, little squirrel, and little spendthrift in destination to his wife, only bothering to use her name when he is busily chastising her for her many errors in judgmentmost of which he attributes to her inability to handle money (Ibsen). Sammy and Torvald are each comfortable with the subordinate role into which they place women in fact, both characters seem comp allowely unaware that they are objectifying and marginalizing the women around themit is a matter of their natural pass up.Additionally, both men express a clear understanding that womens brains are a crook empty. Sammy wonders whether or not its a mind in there or just a buzz like a bee in a glass jar Torvald is more direct, calling Nora a little featherhead (Updike 960, Ibsen). There is no doubt that both men are whole-heartedly mocking women as if doing so is part of the reason they existpart of the worlds natural order. Neither character expects the cautiously structured universes over which they each rule to be al tered let alone collapse, but that is but what happens to both Sammy and Torvald.It never dawns on Sammy, as he is tucked safely behind his register, that the actual king dynamic is the antithesis of what he believes it to be he is merely a servant to the customers who enter the store. In fact, he operates like a man who can alter the very natures of the customers he helps. The bold move Sammy makes at the end of the story isnt an act of independence but an act made hoping the girls will stop and watch him, their unsuspected hero (Updike 963). Likewise, Torvald long remains unaware of the debt he owes his wifea debt physical and financial.Having spend his life smugly satisfied over his wifes dependence on him and her general ignorance, he is thrilled to gain possession of the letter that contains the forged contract Krogstad held over Nora. In his mind, order will be restored however, Nora confronts Torvald about her unhappiness and his constantly treating her like a doll (Ibsen) . Just as the figurehead of the bathing-suit-clad women drove Sammy to quit his job in an act of pointless chivalry Torvalds actionsactions that were designed to henhouse his wifeled him to his mistaking saving her for his own good for saving her for her own.The carefully controlled and structured worlds of each has been undonein both cases by the male characters own unskilled hands. Sammy and Torvald pile up their ends, but not before groveling, and grasping one last time for the control each has let slip away. Sammys struggle is relatively private. He exists the A & P looking around for the bathing-suit-clad girls, but all he sees are a woman and her screaming kids (Updike 964). There is no one to come upon his recent, self-serving act of heroism, and he pathetically mollifies himself by thinking how hard the world was going to be thereafter (964).Torvalds end is a bit more publicmuch as was his mocking of his wife. Declaring that he has it in him to become a different man, he is shocked to learn that Nora has long been a different woman, and has neither need nor desire for him to remain a part of her life his attempt to placate himself is to hang on the words the most wonderful thing of all? (Ibsen) It may be that some men wish their women simple, but it is in the simplest things that the greatest truths are most often revealed. The safety some men look to in the weakness of those with whom they surround themselves is often only a pit of quicksand.This was the case for both Sammy and Torvald Helmer. Where Sammy privately observes and judges women he does not know, Torvald is far more obnoxious he diminishes his wife openly. Whether or not Sammy ages into a Torvald is anyones guess, but certainly the potential for it is present. As one man walks out of a grocery store and the other man tries to guess the answer to a riddle, the women have entered the world on their own, presumably to live happily, contentedly, and idependently ever-after.Works CitedIbs en, Henrik. A Dolls House. Ed. E. Haldeman-Julius. 1923. Project Gutenberg. 29 Mar. http//

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