Online Learning of A Doll’s House, Day 13

Today’s lesson is all about mansplaining, which is when a man explains something to a woman that she already knows. I’m willing to bet that a man on YouTube will comment on today’s video, explaining something to me… and that’s no April Fool’s joke 😉

Goals for the Week:

  1. Write a response to a prompt analyzing A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen.
  2. Continue to collaborate with teachers and classmates.
  3. Finalize all work on A Doll’s House and our Feminism unit and prepare for our next learning experience!

Today’s Checklist:

  1. Check out this flowchart that determines if it’s mansplaining or not
  2. Look over this 2008 essay by Rebecca Solnit, “Men Explain Things To Me”
  3. Read through this gif-heavy list of 6 Subtle Forms of Mansplaining from Bustle

Today’s Lesson!


  • ELAGSE9-10RI3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.

Learning Target: 

I can analyze how an author explains her experience with mansplaining by reading women’s perspectives so that I can articulate and share my own thoughts.


Take a look at this screenshot of a Twitter exchange. In it, a female comic book author makes a joke about a character she writes, Punisher. Someone quickly pops up and tells her that her joke doesn’t work with the character’s backstory. What do you think about this exchange?

Work Session: 

Your assignment for this week!

This week is your largest assignment to date! Each day we will explore a different topic related to feminism and A Doll’s House. I have made a Google Doc with 5 prompts, one for each day this week. CHOOSE ONE PROMPT and write a paragraph in response to it.

Type your response in this document!

Remember, you only need to respond to ONE prompt this week!

Today’s Topic: Mansplaining

  • Mansplaining in A Doll’s House

Let’s start off by looking at this fine example of mansplaining from A Doll’s House:

Helmer. What, already? Is this yours, this knitting?

Mrs Linde [taking it]. Yes, thank you, I had very nearly forgotten it.

Helmer. So you knit?

Mrs Linde. Of course.

Helmer. Do you know, you ought to embroider.

Mrs Linde. Really? Why?

Helmer. Yes, it’s far more becoming. Let me show you. You hold the embroidery thus in your left hand, and use the needle with the right–like this–with a long, easy sweep. Do you see?

Mrs Linde. Yes, perhaps–

Helmer. But in the case of knitting–that can never be anything but ungraceful; look here–the arms close together, the knitting-needles going up and down–it has a sort of Chinese effect–. That was really excellent champagne they gave us.

In this quote, Torvald explains to Mrs. Linde – who has made her living off work like knitting and embroidery – why she should embroider instead of knit, and even how do embroider. Of course Mrs. Linde just nods politely to all of this… But this is a prime example of mansplaining. Do you think Torvald has ever held a needle or hoop in his life?

Do you agree or disagree with this chart?

The essay starts about halfway down the page. It’s rather long and esoteric, discussing things that probably don’t make a whole lot of sense to you (they didn’t to me!). But the point is this: The author of this essay encountered a man at a party who explained her own book to her. As in, she WROTE the book, and this man chose to explain the content of the book to its author. That’s sort of like trying to explain Romeo and Juliet to Shakespeare.

This essay was written in 2008, before the term mansplaining was even coined. Take a minute to at least skim the article and consider Solnit’s experience.

This article discusses some of the author’s personal experience, as well as some famous public examples of mansplaining. I loved the animated gifs throughout 🙂 Read through this article and consider if you’ve ever encountered – or maybe been guilty of? – one of these common ways of mansplaining.

Closing Session: 

Okay, I think you get the concept, but if you want a laugh, check out this Funny or Die skit called “Cavemansplaining”

Looking Ahead: Tomorrow’s Checklist

If you want to get ahead on things, here is what we’re going to be doing tomorrow!

  1. Remind ourselves of the ending of A Doll’s House
  2. Consider this character study of Nora Helmer
  3. Form an opinion: Do you think Nora made the right decision?

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