Making words from letters.

by Dorthea

The last week I have been working on an essay in my literature class. It’s an extension on the play A Doll House (Et Dukkehjem) by Henrik Ibsen and we meet Nora ten years after. A little wierd how I am studying on of our own all the way across the world. If anyone would like to read the original play, it can be found in both Norwegian and English.

Anyway, I just finished it and figured why not post it here so that those wondering how an assignment might be looks like. The assignment is to write an essay about Nora ten years after she left Torvald. In addition my creative essay I have to provide a two-page analysis comparing the two pieces.

The Letter

The day was grey, awfully grey. It was an autumn day in October. The rain was pouring down as if in buckets and only those who had to get out, went out. The wind blew with great care and sang sad songs among the many trees in the forest. A few miles away, in a rainy city, Nora stood by the window watching God’s tears as if they were her own. She turned away from the window, collected herself and turned to her students, saying, “Today we’re going to learn how to sew a zigzag border”. She thought, “So young, so careless and filled with hope for their future. It seems like ages ago, but I used to be one of them.” One of the girls raised her hand. “Yes, Marit?” “I was just wondering, ma´am. Do you have any children?” “No, Marit, I don’t”.

She thought, “Why am I ashamed of the truth? I want to stand up on my desk and scream from the top of my lungs: YES! I do have kids, three of them! They’re beautiful! They’re perfect! The oldest, Henry just turned 17. Signe is a few years younger. Then there is Ole, my darling Ole, who will be turning 13 next week”. Out loud she said, “Bring out your needles, ladies. It’s time to sew.”

“Now remember what I said: left then right, not the other way around. That’s it for today. Enjoy your weekend and try not to be caught in the rain on the way out”. The students hurried out of class, excited to greet the weekend with open arms. “Have a nice weekend, ma’am”. Nora started sweeping the floor for pieces of fabric and other leftovers. She thought, “How could I abandon you, my children, in search for my moral freedom? Do you even have a memory of your mother? Do I even exist to you? Where are you now? Does someone read to you at night? Who scares the monsters away at night? Who bakes you your birthday cake and makes you happy? How I long for you, my little ones. My darling children, how I’ve done you wrong.

Nora left the classroom and walked down the hallway. She walked out the door, and continued to the bus stop. She glanced at her watch realizing that the last bus had departed just minutes before. Crossing the road, Nora began the hour-long walk home to Skiftenes, a little secluded village north of Landvik.

She caught a glimpse of her little white house between the many trees in the forest… my home. She took a shortcut over the lawn and ran to her mailbox, took out her key, and unlocked it. Waiting was an envelope with beautiful handwriting bearing a stamp from Oslo. “I don´t know anyone in Oslo, who could it be?”

Tearing it open, it read:

Dear Nora,
I write to you today to tell you that Torvald has moved to Oslo together with your children. He told me not to tell you, but I think you deserve to at least know where you children are being housed – a town of crazy people. I am concerned for their well-being and safety. Oslo is no place for children. I hope things are well with you. Hope to hear from you soon.

Yours truly, Anne-Marie.

Anne-Marie had been Nora´s substitute mother who first took care of her, and now takes care of Nora´s children. Darling, darling, Anne-Marie. “The old lady stands by my side, even in times like these.”Nora smiled at the thought of her old nanny. “Oh, my sweet little children. What are you doing in that city of sin and drugs? Oslo is no place for children, especially not my children. I miss you, my loves. I miss you more and more each day that passes.”

Nora looked out the window. The weather had cleared. She sat down on one of the four chairs around her dining table and thought. That´s it… I cannot let my children live in that godforsaken city. What will become of them?They would be better off on the countryside where they would be able to breath fresh air and be protected from the cruel world outside.

Nora stood up with purpose and ran to the desk on the other side of the kitchen. She dug out paper, and a pen, and began writing;

It´s time. It’s time for my children to come home and once again be reunited…

A single tear escaped from her eye forming a small puddle on the paper. Then another, and one more. Three tears – one for each one of them.