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Both Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll House” and Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” explore similar themes and issues. Both plays delve into social struggles, wealth, and gender roles both inside and outside the home. Despite the contrasting backgrounds and social classes of the families portrayed, they exhibit many shared traits.

Both the Helmers and the Youngers come from different social backgrounds. In Henrik Ibsen’s play “A Doll’s House,” the Helmers are a middle-class white family living in the late 1800s. Nora Helmer, constantly seeking approval from her controlling husband Torvald, feels compelled to maintain her appearance in order to gain validation from both society and Torvald. During this time period, it was customary for men to be the heads of households and women to obey, as is evident in this particular household.

In contrast, the Youngers are an African American family facing extreme poverty during the 1950s. They cannot afford any luxuries until they receive a significant sum of money through a settlement. Mama decides to use this money to buy a house for their family. However, this house is located in Clybourne Park, an all-white neighborhood where its residents strongly object to having new neighbors who are not white. A representative visits their apartment offering them more money than what they paid for the house so that they won’t move in, fearing it would disrupt their community.

Walter Lee proudly declines this offer after some negotiation, which demonstrates societal prejudices. Money plays a pivotal role in both plays: initially struggling financially when they got married, the Helmers had to work long hours just to make ends meet before Torvald was promoted at his bank job and allowed them a higher standard of living.

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RAISIN IN THE SUN/DOLLS HOUSEs. (2018, Feb 09). Retrieved from


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