Enjoy free KCSE revision materials, essay questions and answers and comprehensive analysis (episodic approach) of the set books including Fathers of Nations by Paul B. Vitta, The Samaritan by John Lara, A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, Blossoms of the Savannah by Henry Ole Kulet, Inheritance by David Mulwa, A Silent Song & An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro. This blog is useful to Kenyan students preparing for KCSE; and their teachers.

Sunday 16 May 2021

A doll's house essay-kcse question analysis, a doll's house essay question; 2020 kcse question analysis .

Sometimes quitting a relationship may be the only option but it hurts loved ones. Using relevant illustrations from Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House; write an essay in support of this statement.


How to answer essay questions based on A Doll's House

1.      Read the question carefully 2.      Identity the KEYWORDS to help you interpret the question 3.      Identify the characters’ actions and their outcomes   4.      Come up with points of interpretation based on point 3 above

The keywords in the question above include “quitting a relationship” , “only option” and “hurts loved ones.”   From these, we can use the following guide questions to come up with points of interpretation and textual illustrations.  

1.      Which character is in an established relationship and with whom? (Give textual evidence) 2.      Action: Who quits the relationship and why? ( Give the challenges that rock the relationship and show that the character quits as a last resort) 3.      What is the background information concerning the quitting? 4.      Outcome: Who is hurt? (Do not simply state that so and so is hurt. Show proof of the pain.)  

Reasons why students lost marks in this question

  Most essays lacked textual details on:

1.      The relationship

2.      The quitting

3.      Background information

4.      The pain (textual evidence on how a character is hurt as the result of the broken relationship)

A Doll's House essay: writing introduction

1.     What is your interpretation/understanding of the question (Does the student interpret the question correctly? We must see a relationship, leaving and resultant pain ) 2.      Include the keywords in your introduction 3.      Do NOT simply rewrite the question as your introduction 4.      Mention some of the characters that quit and those who are hurt, without delving into details. 5.      Be brief.  

In your introduction, we should see characters leaving or abandoning loved ones , and the resultant pain/suffering . The pain must be directly linked to the quitting.    

  A Doll's House sample introduction

People are sometimes forced to quit their relationship . As a result, they make their partners or relations to experience emotional or psychological pain . Some characters in A Doll's House, like Nora and Mrs. Linde, abandon their loved ones causing them untold agony .

A Doll's House essay: Developing the body

1.      Give at least four well-developed points 2.      Each point must fall on a separate paragraph 3.      Give sufficient textual details on the action [quitting], background [relationship challenges], and the outcome [pain]
The following must be apparent in EACH paragraph in order for you to score full marks. ·         Established relationship (e.g. Nora & Helmer) ·         Background i.e. challenges, decision to quit ·         Hurting loved ones (Show the pain according to the book)

Points of interpretation

1.      Nora leaves Helmer

2.      Linde leaves Krogstad

3.      Helmer leaves Nora

4.      Anne leaves the wicked man

5.      Nora leaves her children

6.      Dr. Rank abandons the Helmers

Paragraph development

Character : Nora is in an established relationship with Torvald Helmer. They have been married for eight years and their relationship seems cosy.  

Textual evidence on the relationship between Nora and Helmer ·         Torvald refers to his wife using all sorts of pet names e.g. little lark, littlesquirrel, little spendthrift, little skylark etc. “Come, come, my little skylark must not droop her wings. What is this! Is my little squirrel out of temper?” (p3-4) ·         Torvald takes Nora playfully by the ear (p3) ·           Nora plays with Torvald's coat buttons (p5) ·         Nora tells Mrs. Linde that the last eight years have been a happy time for her (p9) ·         Nora also tells her about her three lovely children and Torvald's new appointment as manager of the bank. She is relived and so happy (p11)  

There are many more illustrations in the book. You should cite sufficient evidence in order to score full marks. Merely glancing at the events would not suffice.

Action : Nora quits the relationship citing various challenges. After Torvald reproaches her about the loan and forgery, she decides to leave.

“I am not fit for the task. I must try to educate myself. And that is why I am going to leave you now.” (p112)

“I cannot remain with you any longer” (p113)

“I do not love you anymore” (p116)

“I had been living here with a strange man, and had borne him three children” (p117)

“I cannot spend the night in a strange man's room” (p118 )

Background information : Identifying the character who quits and mentioning the quitting ( action ) and the pain it causes ( outcome ) merely earns you one mark out if the possible three. You would score full marks only if you sufficiently give the background information which includes the challenges that forces Nora to quit the relationship with Helmer.

·         Torvald overworks himself and falls dreadfully ill (p12) ·         Nora borrows 250 pounds to facilitate the trip to Italy. ·         This is after she unsuccessfully begs Torvald to take the vital trip meant to save his life (p19) ·         Mrs. Linde finds it unwise that Nora borrows without her husband’s permission, but Nora wonders if it's imprudent to save your husband's life (p18-19) ·         Nora keeps the loan a secret from Torvald. She understands his manly independence. ·         She does not want to ruin their beautiful home and mutual relations. ·         She struggles to repay the loan by working and earning money. She also saves housekeeping money from Torvald. ·         Still strives to get Torvald a good table and her “sweet little darlings” decent clothes(p20-21) ·         When Krogstad threatens to blackmail her, she has faith that her loving husband would repay the money owed and rid her of the obligations (p37) ·         She forges a name to spare her father anxiety and care and save Torvald’s life (p41) ·         She tries to plead Krogstad's case but only for the sake of the family (p59) “If your little squirrel were to ask you for something very, very prettily-” (p57) ·         She is desperate to protect her relationship with Torvald. ·         She begs Christine to be her witness (p78) ·         When Torvald finds out about the secret he insults Nora and forbids her from raising the children “Miserable creature-what have you done?” (p103) “But I shall not allow you to bring up the children; I dare not trust them to you” (p105)

·         Torvald changes tune when Krogstad sends back the bond but it's too late (p106)

Outcome : Do not simply mention that Nora's departure hurts Torvald. Give some evidence to back up your claim.

Torvald begs Nora to stay. He says “I have it in me to become a different man” (p118) ·         He begs her to wait until the next day (p118) ·         He suggests they live as brother and sister “Can I ever be anything more than a stranger to you?” When Nora leaves, Torvalds sinks down an a chair, his face buried in his hand. He feels empty. This is enough proof of Torvald’s pain.  

Sample set book essay question and answer based on A Doll's House

  Sometimes quitting a relationship may be the only option but it hurts loved ones. Using relevant illustrations from Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House; write an essay in support of this statement.

  A relationship undergoes a lot of challenges sometimes. If a relationship does not work, it may force one of the partners to abandon it and seek other options. In the event that one partner walks out on another, it causes pain. Mrs. Linde abandons Krogstad due to unavoidable circumstances and he ultimately  feels like a shipwrecked man.

Nora decides to leave her husband Torvald, causing him untold misery . Before she decides to leave, they had a cordial intimate relationship. Helmer displays affection by using loving pet names like little squirrel or little skylark when referring to his wife.   When asking for favours from him, she intimately plays with his coat buttons. Nora affectionately tells Mrs. Linde about her three little children and her happy eight year marriage. She is also excited about Torvald's appointment as bank manager. Problems begin when Torvald overworks and falls ill. He has to go to Italy in order to recover. He is adamant about taking the trip, even after Nora begs earnestly, so she is forced to borrow 250 pounds from Krogstad. She also forges her father's signature. She keeps these a secret from Torvald in order to protect his manly independence, maintain their mutual relations and guard their beautiful happy home. She works tirelessly and saves her housekeeping money with a view of secretly repaying the loan. She does all these for the sake of her husband and family. However, when Torvald learns about Nora's secret he in infuriated. He calls her a miserable creature and a criminal. He further forbids her from raising her children whom she loves deeply. Nora decides to leave Torvald since he is not ready to make any sacrifice for her. She calls him a strange man who doesn’t understand her. Torvald later has a change of heart when Krogstad sends them the damning bond. He begs Nora to leave the next day. He tries to convince her   to stay so that they could live as brother and sister. He even reminds her of her duties as a wife and a mother. When Nora leaves, he sadly sinks onto a chair and buries his face in his hand, feeling devastated and empty. He is deeply hurt by her departure .  

Mrs. Linde is forced to abandon her true love Krogstad and this undoubtedly makes him miserable. Krogstad sincerely loved Mrs. Linde and would gladly do anything for her sake. She tells Nora that she knew him many years ago when he was a solicitor’s clerk. Mrs. Linde has no option but to leave him when her mother is bedridden and helpless and she is forced to provide for her two younger brothers. Krogstad's prospects seemed hopeless at the time, so Mrs. Linde was left with no choice but quitting their relationship and marrying a rich man. When she leaves, Krogstad has an unhappy marriage and later becomes a widower. Krogstad calls Mrs. Linde a heartless woman because he was hurt when she jilted him. Mrs. Linde regrets and says she did not do it with a light heart. She had no right to throw him over for anyone’s sake. When Krogstad lost her, it was akin to losing the solid ground under his feet. He feels like a shipwrecked man clinging to a bit of wreckage. Mrs. Linde also feels like a shipwrecked woman. She begs Krogstad to take her back so that she could take care of her children. Although she has no option when she leaves Krogstad, her action hurts him.

Helmer quits his relationship with his wife Nora. This hurts Nora. He strips her of her wifely duties by forbidding her from bringing up the children. Nora is hurt because she feels Torvald is an ingrate who does not appreciate her selflessness. Before the relationship went to the dogs, it was warm and cosy. Torvald treated Nora like a doll and called her pretty little names like squirrel and skylark. Nora acknowledges that for eight years she had a happy married life. She is happy with her children and delighted about Torvald's new appointment. However, when he falls ill and she is forced to borrow money to carter for his recuperation, things go south. She is proud for saving Torvald's life since she did it for the sake of love. She is a loving wife who would do anything to please Torvald. Torvald also loves her wife, or so it seems. He chooses for her a dress and picks the Neapolitan fisher girl   character for her for the fancy dress ball. Nora tells Dr. Rank that Torvald is absurdly fond of her and even somewhat jealous. She feels that he loves her deeply. He sometimes fantasizes that she is a young beautiful bride. However, when he learns of Nora's secret about the loan and the forgery he quits the relationship by denying Nora the right of raising her children. He rants that he is a miserable creature and a criminal who has ruined his future. Nora expected Torvald to take the blame and say he is the guilty one. This would be a wonderful thing. She is hurt and disappointed when the wonderful thing does not happen. In her awakening, she discovers that Torvald is a strange man who does not love her. He hurts her when he selfishly quits the relationship .

Anne walks out of the relationship between the father of her daughter and her . Nora wonders how she could have the heart to put out her own child among strangers. Anne was in a relationship with a certain man and the result of this fling was the birth of her daughter. Anne has no option but to quit the relationship and leave out her daughter among strangers since the wicked man did not help her to raise the child. She chooses to become Nora's nurse. Although the daughter wrote to her when she was confirmed and when she was married, she must have been hurt growing up without the warmth of her mother’s love. Anne had no choice but to leave the wicked man but this causes her daughter untold misery.

The fall out between Nora and Torvald forces her to quit her relationship with her children . Nora  has a strong loving motherly bond with her three children. He buys the children presents namely a new suit and sword for Ivar, a horse and a trumpet for Bob and a dolly and a dolly's bedstead for Emma. She is delighted at the fact that the children will enjoy Christmas.  She proudly tells Mrs. Linde about her three lovely children. When she plays hide and seek with them, their time together is filled with laughter. The children are so attached to her that they want to continue playing after Krogstad comes and leaves. Naturally, mothers spend a lot of time with their children so Torvald thinks that a mother's action could have a deep seated effect on the children. Later,  the children beg so earnestly to be allowed to be with their mother. Anne says they are accustomed to having mama with them. When Krogstad threatens to blackmail her, she tells him to think about her three little children. Nora is forced to leave her children but she does so with a heavy heart. Torvald forbids her from bringing up the children. When she decides to leave, he reminds her of her sacred duties - her husband and her children.  Nora, however, says that the children are in better hands than hers since the maids know everything in the house. She will always think of them. Since they had a strong attachment to their mother, the children are hurt when she leaves them. 

Lastly, Dr. Rank quits the relationship he had with the Helmers . They had a strong relationship as great friends. They do not even have to invite him for functions since he would come to the house anyway. He even understands the rules of the Helmer household e.g. macaroons are forbidden. Whenever Torvald is busy Rank spends time with his wife Nora. He visits them everyday regularly. He is Torvald's intimate friend and a great friend of Nora's. He is practically just like one of the family. Dr. Rank fears that Christine Linde would replace him as the beat friend to the Helmers. When his death is imminent, Dr. Rank takes his leave effectively quitting his relationship with the Helmers. He sends them a card with black crosses over his name signifying his death. Torvald and Nora are devastated. 

In brief, indeed quitting a relationship hurts loved ones even if one has no choice but to leave. 

Click here to download A Doll's House essay questions and answers .  


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