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Topic: IHUM 202 – Reading Response: A Doll’s House

It could be argued that Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is a play about masks and the consequences of dissimulation. In reference to Krogstad, Helmer says to Nora, “Just think how a guilty man like that has to lie and play the hypocrite with everyone, how he has to wear a mask in the presence of those near and dear to him, even before his own wife and children” (27). The criticism in Ibsen’s play, however, is not aimed at those who practice such dissimulation but at a society that paradoxically encourages it. Indeed, deception seems to be the only recourse for people like Nora and Krogstad who wish to live in society but find themselves on the outside either through well-intentioned but illegal activities or through mistakes that they cannot rectify. For your reading response: Choose one of the characters from the play and identify the nature of the mask he/she wears. Explain why he/she has donned such a mask and the consequences of wearing such a mask for them Be sure to discuss how the problem of the mask forces them into a contradiction with society around them and what Ibsen might be critiquing. In approximately 250 words (one page), make a clear, focused argument (thesis statement) that tackles one or more of these questions clearly and directly but also substantively. For our grading purposes, and so that you yourself know your argument, please underline your thesis statement in the final draft you submit. The response will be graded according to this rubric: Max Points: Description 6: Understanding text in relation to the prompt: Demonstrates understanding of key points in the text as well as addresses thoroughly the prompt. 6: Clarity/Strength of Argument: Develops a clear thesis statement in the first paragraph. Supporting paragraphs form points that support the thesis. Other viewpoints are considered and responded to. Summary of the text is kept to a minimum. 4: Appropriate evidence from the text: At least one quote that supports the thesis is included. Additional quotes are kept to a reasonable number and all quotes are an appropriate length for the length of the paper. All evidence is clearly based in the text. 2: Grammar/Mechanics: There are no grammar or spelling errors 2: MLA Formatting: The paper is formatted according to MLA rules and in-text citations are used and appropriately formatted. A works cited page is included if any source outside of the prompted text is used. 20: Total

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