A Doll's House

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The nursemaid Character Analysis

Nurse to both Nora and Nora's children, the nursemaid, whose name is Anne Marie, is a kind woman who was forced to give up her own child, who it is suggested was born out of wedlock. The nursemaid is an example of a woman in bad circumstances forced to do anything in order to survive. When Nora first thinks of leaving she considers the fact that her children will be raised by the nursemaid and, remembering what a good mother the nursemaid had been to her, decides that she would also raise Nora’s children well.

The nursemaid Quotes in A Doll's House

The A Doll's House quotes below are all either spoken by The nursemaid or refer to The nursemaid. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Oxford University Press edition of A Doll's House published in 1998.
Act Two Quotes

When a poor girl’s been in trouble she must make the best of things.

Related Characters: The nursemaid (speaker)
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

Nora has asked the nursemaid how she could bear to give up her child, and the nursemaid responds by explaining that it was out of necessity, as the child's father would not support her. This quote highlights how little freedom and power women had at the time; without a man to depend on, the nursemaid would have been unable to raise the child herself.

The nursemaid's predicament connects to Mrs. Linde's revelation that she married a man she didn't love due to financial need, as well as Nora's decision to forge her father's signature in order to secure the loan. Each woman was forced to act in a way they otherwise have never chosen due to the restrictive legal, economic, and social position of women in their society. Significantly, all three women choose to act in a way that is both selfless and pragmatic; Ibsen thus exposes the inaccuracy of the belief that women are foolish and incapable of making rational decisions.

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The nursemaid Character Timeline in A Doll's House

The timeline below shows where the character The nursemaid appears in A Doll's House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...all go to leave. As they go, Nora asks that they return that evening. The nursemaid and the children enter, and Nora runs excitedly to let them in. Nora kisses her... (full context)
Gender Theme Icon
Nora talks to her children, who tell her what they’ve been doing outside. The nursemaid offers to take the children’s coats and hats off but Nora says she will do... (full context)
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
...that he wants to talk to Nora. Nora tells her children to go to the nursemaid, and assures them that the “strange man” won’t do anything to her. Once the children... (full context)
Deceit Theme Icon
Nora repeats to herself “it’s impossible.” The nursemaid calls saying that the children keep asking if they can be let in to see... (full context)
Act Two
Gender Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
The nursemaid enters, carrying a large cardboard box. She announces that it is the box of fancy... (full context)
Gender Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Nora asks how the children are, and the nursemaid replies that they are playing with their presents, and asking for their mother. Nora tells... (full context)