Last Short Essay Report

The median score this time was a mid-C, a definite improvement from last time. The modal (most common) score was also a C; over 1/4th of the papers earned that grade.

My chief complaint is still that people are not doing enough: not thinking through their answers, not spending any time providing or explaining evidence beyond the bare minimum (if that).

For reference, below the line I’ll provide one more sample. As always, it’s not perfect, but it’s a great example of how far you can go with good attention to social and cultural context:

Henrik Ibsen, from “A Doll’s House” Act Three

With the onslaught of Industrialization and the accompanying Urbanization in the 1800 and 1900’s, came an emphasis placed on the importance of women. Because of the separation of home from work, the place of women in the home started to be appreciated by their male counterparts. All over the world, wives, mothers, and daughters began to be noticed for their contribution to society. With this newfound appreciation and importance placed on women, came the beginning movements of women’s liberation. Women themselves began to realize their importance and instead of following the age old traditions spelled out by controlling males, they began to make decisions for themselves such as choosing to get married later in life and having less children. Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” was published in these changing times and the controversial message of social reform for all people in society could not have come at a better time, making it one of the most popular plays of its day with a lasting |effect on the days to come.

With the development of the ideas of such things as the “nuclear families” and the Cult of Domesticity, the late 19th century saw a lot of change in the societies throughout the world and their treatment of women. Ibsen, known for his controversial plays which always dealt with one form of social reform or another, knew exactly to what audience he was writing when he compiled “A Doll’s House” and what controversy it would spark. In every society, there are the stragglers and those resistant to change. “A Doll’s House” targeted these audiences, making it controversial, and it was the change in times that made it popular. The play came at the perfect time to make the best possible impact on the world. If the play had been published and performed fifty years prior, than the actors probably would have been booed off the stage leading to its ultimate failure, and if it had been written fifty years later, than it probably would have been suspected of plagiarism for someone would have already penned and published the general idea.

There is no doubt that Ibsen’s “A Doll House” impacted the world, but how much of an impact it truly made is often overlooked. Ibsen’s play did not only address the controversial issue of women in the home, but on a much larger scale, it sought to address people as a whole in society. When Nora proclaims to her husband that she is going to seek education and take a closer look at her religion, all of these were new ideas for not only women, but common people in general. With the age of Industrialization and Urbanization in full swing, schools and the importance of education where emphasized. By educating the general populace, the average person was suddenly able to think for themselves and as such, were able to take into question their beliefs. Ibsen, through his play, was encouraging people-male or female-to look at their lives and notice the imperfections, and through whatever means necessary make them better. Nora claims that she was merely “merry” or content with the way society would have her be. By defying her husband and not caring what society thought of her, she became, for the first time in her life, happy.

In Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” Nora represents the people of society and Helmer represents society itself. It was evident that the times were changing, and despite the resistance of some, it was through the help of such popular works as “A Doll’s House” that society finally began to give women their proper place in society and emphasis was placed on the common man breaking away from the ties of tradition and beginning to think for themselves. It would be years before women were considered equal to men, and wars and reform movements would center around education and religion, but through it all, we the people of the world came out almost exactly as Ibsen wanted. Free, independent, educated, able to decide our own religions and our own futures, and treated as equals. We, the average American, posses everything Ibsen’s Nora desperately wanted but it would seem that we are still simply “merry.” Equality, education, and freedom in religion, are the issues that Ibsen and his time saw as the key to happiness. Now, with his help, we hold the keys, and it would seem that we treat them not as happiness itself, but rather the means to procuring it. In the never-ending cycle of change, we want to know what doors will the keys unlock and what new controversies can be drug into center stage?