Comparison of a Doll’s House and Revolutionary Road

Posted: November 29th, 2013





Comparison of a Doll’s House and Revolutionary Road

The Revolutionary Road as its title states is a movie about a family made up of the husband, Frank Wheeler, wife, April and their two children. However, it centers o the lives of the husband and wife. The two seek to live fulfilling lives, as their current lives are empty and unsatisfactory despite the presence of material wealth. On the hand, A Doll’s house comprises of a family of husband, Helmer and wife, Nora with their two children. As the title suggests their lives are unfulfilling especially for the wife because the husband seems to care about his business and image within the society. The two works seem to emphasize the presence of differences in terms of the ideals and what people within the marriage consider as happiness. The interpretation of happiness has diverse meaning to the husbands as well as the wives in the tow settings. In addition, priorities within the marriage have been underscored and neglected by those responsible for running the household: husband and wife, in their quest for happiness, societal image and material possession.

• Misplacement of priorities and responsibilities due to lack of understanding

Misunderstanding in relationships can be attributed to lack of communication or inadequate communication. In addition, it can also be attributed to incompatibility of the two individuals within the relation. April and Frank seem like the perfect family whereas they are not; they have differences in terms of what they want and need in their lives leading to constant arguments. Their misunderstanding and utter lack of communication leads to dreadful events. For instance, Frank fails to communicate to his wife about his promotion at work and his objections towards heading to Paris. April could be described as self-centered because of her decision to seek and abortion, which was inhibiting her dream of going to Paris. She sacrifices her unborn child for a life of happiness and riches with the idea that the secretaries in Paris are paid better than those in America.

On the other hand, Helmer has misplaced priorities towards his relationship with his wife leading to a misunderstanding. He views issues in their marriage in the light of material possessions providing for her. As she is about to leave he still does not understand her need for devotion from her husband but instead translates the reason for her leaving as having her needs not met. As he pleads with her not to leave him he states, “I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora–bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves.” (Ibsen, 67) This is a clear indication that he would not sacrifice his image for her but only views her needs as only material in nature.

• Unrealistic lives and expectations

Helmer on the other hand lives in a ‘doll world’ whereby he considers everything from a merry making perspective without viewing life from a real perspective. Helmer views his ability to provide for his family as the only important aspect in his marriage. The marriage is unrealistic as Nora emphasizes that they do not exists as husband and wife but instead live as strangers as they do not know each other. She states, “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, 78) They hardly talk about issues in their marriage. However, Helmer considers talking as irrelevant as he emphasizes that all they need is to have live in the marriage.

Frank claims to April that he wants to go to Paris and would love to take her with him. He states, “All I know now is that feel things. Really feel them. How’s that for an ambition…?” (Haythe, 53). He seems to live in a life of delusion that one place is better than the other. Happiness does not dwell in venues but it is people who make venues happy. April picture herself living the life she had always dreamed of in Paris, which is described as the city of love. This is a clear illustration of the need to fulfill ones own desires at the cost of a marriage.

• Individualism

Nora exercises the fact that she needs her individual space thus she resorts to leaving her well off husband and her own children. This is necessitated by the need to explore her individual self. Nora and Helmer are tow individuals leading tow utterly different lives with individual needs. Nora says to Helmer, “I must stand quite alone, if I am to understand myself and everything about me.” (Ibsen, 49). She seeks to find herself because she finds her own life as unfulfilling.

Helmer on the other hand states, “…But no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves.” (Ibsen, 61).This is a clear indication that Helmer leads his own independent from his wife and children, as he is not willing to sacrifice his image and dignity for the standing firm with his wife.

On the other hand, April exercises individualism in her quest to seek happiness as she convinces her husband to move to Paris. Her needs are in utter contrast from the needs of her husband who wants to bring up the unborn child and receive the promotion. Her decision to persuade Frank to go Europe is to enable him find himself by soul searching. She convinces him to agree to the idea by telling him, “Don’t you see that’s the whole idea? You’ll be doing what you should’ve been allowed to do seven years ago. You’ll have time, Frank. You’ll have time to find out what it is that you actually want to do, and when you figure it out you’ll have the time and the freedom to start doing it” (Haythe, 84). This is a clear indication that April is willing to give her husband time to find and lead an individual life without interruptions and bother form the family and work.

In conclusion, both pieces of literature emphasize on the presence of communication within any marital union to enable both individuals to understand the need and priorities of the others. In addition, miscommunication can be very costly to a marriage as people rarely meet the needs of the other partner.






Work cited

Ibsen, Henrik. Project Gutenberg EBook: A Doll’s House. December 13, 2008. Web. 24 May 2012. Accessed from <>

Haythe, Justin. Revolutionary Road. 2008. Web. 24 May 2012. Accessed from <>






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