Essay Title: 

Compare and Contrast Characters

March 24, 2016 | Author: | Posted in american literature, literature and language

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The Puppet Master Becomes the Puppet

Examining Henrik Ibsen ‘s Torvald and John Updike ‘s Sammy

Some men seem to like their women simple . The man who desires the simple woman sees her as easier to manipulate and as a more positive reflection on himself . A man who has a simple woman can believe himself superior in almost all things such is the case with John Updike ‘s character Sammy in the short story A

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Henrik Ibsen ‘s character Torvald Helmer from his play A Doll ‘s House . Each of these men views the world as merely an extension of himself , and the people in the world , especially the women , as decorative items purely for his personal manipulation and amusement . Ironically , by the end of both Updike ‘s short story and Ibsen ‘s play , the women have turned the men ‘s worlds on edge and taken control of the universe

Sammy is a checker at the local supermarket , and he spends his days watching his world

go by while standing in judgment of those who enter his domain . The world that goes by

Sammy is populated by a variety of customers – all seemingly women – who he describes as

witches ‘ sheep ‘ and this one[s] (Updike 959 , 960 . That he feels superior to women – all

women – is made obvious by the way in which he sizes them up . The three bathing-suit-clad

girls who are about to change Sammy ‘s life are described in terms of their physical attributes and

the degree to which Sammy is attracted to each . While he initially admires the girl in the plaid

green two-piece ‘ who has a good tan and [the] sweet broad soft-looking can with [ .] two

crescents of white just under it ‘ he later realizes she and girl number two are merely preludes to

the one he presumes to be their leader – the one he calls the queen (959 , 960

Torvald Helmer is no different from Sammy he too objectifies women – specifically his wife – and he lives happily presuming that females are simple and will always remain so . Ibsen ‘s play opens with Nora entering the home and Torvald ‘s greeting her shortly thereafter . During their brief exchange , Torvald uses the terms little lark ‘ little squirrel ‘ and little spendthrift ‘ in reference to his wife , only bothering to use her name when he is busily chastising her for her many errors in judgment – most of which he attributes to her inability to handle money (Ibsen

Sammy and Torvald are each comfortable with the subordinate role into which they place women in fact , both characters seem completely unaware that they are objectifying and marginalizing the women around them – it is a matter of their natural make up . Additionally , both men express a clear understanding that women ‘s brains are a bit empty . Sammy wonders whether or not it ‘s a mind in there or just a buzz like a bee in… [banner_entry_footer]

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