“THE MAKING OF AN A IN ENGLISH” KCSE 2020/2021 REVISION QUESTIONS PER SUBJECT: ENGLISH PAPER 3 (101/3) A DOLL’S HOUSE-QUESTION AND ANSWER/ POSSIBLE RESPONSE
HOW TO ANSWER/ EFFECTIVELY RESPOND TO ESSAY QUESTIONS SET IN KCSE ENGLISH PAPER THREE 101/3
QUESTION 1: WOMEN ARE PILLARS IN THE SOCIETY BUT THEIR ROLES ARE NOT APPRECIATED. VALIDATE THIS STATEMENT BY CLOSELY REFERRING TO HENRIK IBSEN’S “A DOLL’S HOUSE”
Interpretation: This question has got two sides:
- “Women are pillars” which means that women play a very important (pivotal) role in society. Without women, society cannot develop or prosper. This can also be paraphrased/ interpreted as women are very important people in the society whose contribution cannot be ignored/ overlooked.
- “Their roles are not appreciated” which can be paraphrased as their crucial or important contribution is ignored/ not recognized or their functions are taken for granted especially in a male-dominated society (where women have no say or place)
Women are very important people in the society depicted in Henrik Ibsen’s play “A Doll’s House” because they play very crucial/ important roles. However, these women are looked down upon and their important contribution to society is ignored or taken for granted.
IDEAS FOR BODY PARAGRAPHS (WHAT IMPORTANT ROLES FEMALE CHARACTERS IN “A DOLL’S HOUSE HAVE PLAYED)
JI: To commence, Nora, Helmer’s wife plays an important role when she saves Torvald’s life but her contribution is not appreciated by the same husband whose life was in danger then.
Paragraph development: How to develop this idea: ensure that you answer the Wh- and how questions (contextualize your idea-explain it by drawing correct details from the text.) You must explain the two sides/ parts of the question to score a full in every paragraph For instance
PART 1: HOW NORA IS A PILLAR IN “A DOLL’S HOUSE”
(WHEN) This happens when Torvald Helmer left office (WHY) since there was no hope of getting promoted “there were no prospects.” He was however forced to overwork to provide for his family. This made him sick/ ill and the doctors who were treating him recommended that he should travel to (WHERE) Italy (the South) a warmer place for him to recover. Unfortunately, Torvald had no money to finance this trip to Italy. Even when Nora, his wife persuaded him to borrow a loan, he refused (WHY) since he believes that there cannot be happiness or beauty in a home that depends on borrowing and debts. Torvald did not know that Nora was trying to save his life since it is her whom the doctors approached about the great danger in which Torvald was. Since this happens during the Victorian era when women are not allowed to borrow loans without the knowledge or consent or permission of either their husband or close male relative like a father, Nora decides to forge her father’s signature. (HOW) she signs the bond given to her by Krogstad as security for the 250 pounds using her handwriting instead of sending it to her father but she carelessly wrote the wrong date, 2nd of October yet her father died on the 29th of September. (WHY) because her father was very sick then. Nora, therefore, did not want to bother him with more distressing news about her husband’s condition. If she sent the bond to him for signing as Nils Krogstad had suggested, she would be forced to explain why she needed such a huge amount of money-250 pounds.
NOTE: Up to this point, I have only responded to one part of the question only-How Nora as a woman is a pillar in “A Doll’s House.”
PART 2: HOW NORA’S ROLE OF SAVING TORVALD HELMER’S LIFE IS NOT APPRECIATED
Continue developing this idea further by noting that Nora’s crucial role in saving her husband, Torvald Helmer’s life is not appreciated or recognized.
(WHY) The society in “A Doll’s House” is patriarchal (male-dominated) in nature therefore women are not supposed to undertake financial transactions such as borrowing loans without their husbands’ knowledge. This explains why Torvald becomes very angry and rants like a rabid dog abusing Nora and labeling her a liar, a hypocrite, and a criminal who is not fit to raise their three children when he learns that Nora had borrowed 250 pounds by forging her father’s signature through Krogstad’s letter- meant to manipulate the Helmers and force Torvald to reinstate (give him back his position after sacking him) him as a clerk at the bank. Torvald’s mean words deeply hurt Nora and that is when she truly realizes that all this while she has been taken for granted not only by her husband but also her father. Both of them view her as a doll- a precious thing to be petted, manipulated, and controlled instead of recognizing her special abilities like the ability to make the right decision of saving Helmer’s life. This revelation makes Nora walk out of her marriage and abandon her children for fear of infecting them with lies as Torvald claims.
JII: Secondly, Mrs. Linde plays an important role in providing for her sick bed-ridden mother and two younger brothers who were not financially independent then but she is not recognized/ appreciated.
PART 1: Mrs. Linde’s pivotal/ important role-Mrs Linde as an anchor to her family
Context: This happens when Christine Linde and Nils Krogstad were lovers. Christine needed financial help to cater to the needs of her mother and two younger brothers. Unfortunately, Krogstad was not financially stable and there were no prospects (hope of being financially independent). Even though Mrs. Linde deeply loves Krogstad, she is forced to make a tough choice between marrying her only true love, Nils Krogstad, or Linde, an old rich man (a man of means) whom she did not love but could help her sustain her family’s needs. Mrs. Linde plays a pivotal role by putting her family’s needs before hers and marries Linde. When he dies, she is however left with nothing, not even grief (sadness) since she never loved him in the first place. She is forced to find other ways of raising money to support her family. She opens a shop at first and a school to support her family.
PART 2: HOW MRS LINDE’S ROLE OF SUPPORTING HER FAMILY FINANCIALLY IS NOT APPRECIATED
Mrs. Linde’s role of supporting her sick mother and two younger brothers financially is however not appreciated since women are not expected to provide for their families. This explains why Mrs. Linde struggles to find a sustainable well-paying job to support her family. If this society truly recognized the important role of women like MrsLinde, it could have come up with structures/ rules to ensure that women secure meaningful jobs easily, like their male counterparts. Besides, Krogstad is very bitter with her. He even blames her for the misfortunes that have befallen him since she abandoned him. This shows that he does not appreciate or understand why Christine had to abandon him for a richer man.
JIII: Thirdly, Nora plays an important role in raising her three little children but her role is not appreciated even by her very own husband Torvald Helmer.
JIV: In addition to this, Nora plays a crucial role in safeguarding/ protecting/ maintaining her husband’s reputation or honor in society by faithfully repaying 250 pounds owed to Krogstad in monthly installments but her husband fails to show gratitude when he learns about this great secret.
JV: Lastly, Anne, Nora’s Nurse who is currently raising Nora’s three little children plays an important role in eking a living after the irresponsible man who impregnated her abandons her and her daughter but her role is not appreciated. Even Nora judges her for leaving her own daughter among strangers.