. Alfred Adler wrote “We are not determined by our experiences, but are self-determined by the meaning we give to them; and when we take particular experiences as the basis for our future life, we are almost certain to be misguided to some degree. Situations do not determine meanings. We determine ourselves by the meanings we ascribe to situations.” (Alfred Adler, What Life Could Mean to You37)The person’s style of life is the set of personal narratives one has devised in order to cope with being in the world. If one has social interest then one evidences or enacts a useful style of life.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
The present thesis attempts to study Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and HeddaGablerin terms of Adlerian theories of Psychoanalytic Feminism regarding Social Interest. It defines the process of constructing a female framework; where women are producers of “textual meaning” including the psychodynamics of female creativity, linguistics and the problem of a female language. Adlerargues that such psychological force underlies human behavior, especially the dynamic relations between conscious motivation and unconscious motivation. Alfred Adler claims that there is a relation between masculinity and femininity or dynamic power between men and women who are crucial for understanding human psychology.
The 19th century saw a wide spread movement of women in reaction to the emergence of true refinement for better education. They wanted to have good education to work outside the home, for a reform of the laws affecting married women, and for liberty from limitation of duties such as attention to husband, keeping her children clean and attending to domestic arrangements.Marion Reid in her book A Plea for Women comments on “difficulties many women face in obtaining the means of a good substantial education” (Reid 42).
Reid is careful to acknowledge women’s domestic responsibilities though she claims that ” most women go about their household duties in a cold, hard, mechanical, and loveless way but there is no reason why women should be limited to domesticity” (Reid 42). A married woman has no right even over her property also her children as well are husband’s property. Bernard Shaw in The Quintessence of Ibsenism says that:
In 19th century United States, feminism emerged out of the anti -slavery movement in which women were very active.Where19th century liberal feminists concentrated on political and legal issues, cultural feminists examined institution such as religion, marriage and home. (Shaw 46)
Adler developed a theory that can explain the characters’ actions in A Doll’s House. Adlerian theories can best be studied by analyzing the characters of A Doll’s House The most significant motivation for one’s actions is provided by friends and family as the concern for them makes one to do whatever he can to keep them satisfied or please them. The influence of family and friends may also affect one’s view of life, and this would affect one to act differently in order to vary his or her new attitude towards life.
An individual is part of a larger whole that is the society, which means that one must live up to society’s expectations to gain respect and acceptance. This demonstrates how a social setting can influence one’s behaviors. One’s primary goal in life is to gain acceptance and to feel significant. The determination to be a perfect individual forces one to act in certain ways. Adler argues his vision of society: “Social feeling means above all a struggle for a communal form that must be thought of as eternally applicable… when humanity has attained its goal of perfection… an ideal society amongst all mankind, the ultimate fulfillment of evolution” (Adler, The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler 257). Adler follows this pronouncement with a defense of metaphysics:
I see no reason to be afraid of metaphysics; it has had a great influence on human life and development. We are not blessed with the possession of absolute truth; on that account we are compelled to form theories for ourselves about our future, about the results of our actions, etc. Our idea of social feeling as the final form of humanity – of an imagined state in which all the problems of life are solved and all our relations to the external world rightly adjusted – is a regulative ideal, a goal that gives our direction. This goal of perfection must bear within it the goal of an ideal community, because all that we value in life, all that endures and continues to endure, is eternally the product of this social feeling (Adler 271).
As Adler argues in his theories the woman at home is just as a doll that has no rights even over her properties. Nora herself says to her husband about her bad situation; he also feels she cannot do her tasks as others expect her. “Indeed you were perfectly right. I am not fit for the task. There is another task I must undertake. First I must try and educate myself- you are not the man to help me in that” (Ibsen, A Doll’s House Act III112). Nora thinks no one can help her, even her husband and her children want her for taking care of themselves, for doing tasks that Torvald also denies. There is a kind of contradiction here, on the one hand the husband wants her as a doll that does orders and on the other hand he does not accept her and he thinks she cannot do her tasks well.
1.3. Significance of the Study
Accorrding to psychoanalytical feminism theory, the Adlerian conception of social interest studies Henrik Ibsen’s drama, A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler, by analyzing dialogues, character’s action, and the style of writing as a series of factors that demonstrate human beings by nature are social and this fact is irrelevant to gender. Social interest is a feeling of community, an orientation to live cooperatively with others, and a lifestyle that values the common good above one’s interests and desire. One can enact his social interest by fulfilling his chosen social role.
Adler also calls his approach individual psychology. One’s style of life includes the set of one’s choices and what one choice in turn depends on one’s style of life. It follows that a person cannot be biologically or environmentally predisposed or determined. People can make individual choices only within the context of a well-developed social milieu. In this story, the situations change the process of Nora’s life but Nora because of her gender that is female wants to change her life style. Finally, her view of the world has changed, and she decides to leave even her children to win the liberation, her rights and whatever she was deprivedof.
Adler is committed to a theory of motivation. If one pursues social interest, then one has a motive for doing so. An example of a motive implementing social interest is altruism. Nora is the symbol of altruism, when she has that motivation and the feeling of altruism to help her friend, but again the situation and frightening led her to the