In this fable, I will try to illustrate the themes of money and reputation in the drama A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen; and how having them as a priority in your life will eventually cause your life to fall apart. Which links back to Part 3: Texts and Contexts.
It is a rather unusual way of exploring the issue but I intend on showing insight into the way people perceive money and reputation. I thought that the best way to teach a morale or lesson is through a fable, which is the purpose of the text. As I mentioned I will try to focus on the themes money and reputation and the problems that are created through them.
The Cheetah shall represent Nora, an animal that can adapt o live both a dependent and independent lifestyle. An animal also associated to power, grace and beauty. The lion shall represent Torvald. Lions with their big manes are considered the ‘kings of the jungle’. That is a sign of their power and strength. The lion with the biggest mane is considered the leader of men, which is a sign of how important social image and reputation is for a male lion.
My target audience would be children over the age of 6. That is because a fable is only a fraction of real life is like and it only shows examples to simplify the understanding of the text. A fable must be simple enough for a six year old to understand.
I believe that the time this text is published would be a rather modern time because it requires knowledge of both the themes and the animals; and it would be released somewhere in Africa, because of the cultural context involved and knowledge required of lions and cheetahs.
Life of the cheetah
Once upon a time there was a beautiful, lonely cheetah in need of someone to take good care of her. “Who can take care of me better than a big, strong lion?” she thought. So the cheetah went and found a lion to live with. This lion was the wealthiest lion of the land. He was a very proud lion; he always had the biggest mane, the tastiest meal and the largest cave. But, he only let the prettiest lions live with him. He always wanted to make himself look the best he can. He would never even leave his cave without brushing his mane. His Reputation was the most important thing to him. The cheetah of course knew that the lion would never let her live with him if she weren’t a lion. She had to cover her spots everyday and pretend to be a lion just so she can live with him. The lion would always pamper her very kindly and bring the cheetah everything she asked for, and let her have the biggest cave of all. He also let her raise the kids to be like her and the lion. She lived a very happy life and thought that she had it all. But the cheetah still couldn’t deny the fact that she was not a lion.
But the cheetah would not always get what she wants. Sometimes she would have to use her devious and cunning ways to get what she wants. She was a smart cheetah but she did not directly show it. She preferred to pretend to be that lovely wife that listens to her husband brainlessly. So at times if something wasn’t going her way she would lick her paws very gently and walk around slowly, almost like a little cub looking for her mother. Then she would purr softly and rub her head against lions’ very tenderly. This always worked with lion, and always got her what she wanted. She had her way with dealing with people, cheetah would always get what she asks for. It was a sign of her power, but she knew it was all a show, it was all pretend; just to keep on living ‘the good life’.
One day the lion got extremely sick and was unable to hunt. The cheetah offered to hunt for him but he replied: “Do you suppose I am going to make myself ridiculous before my whole herd, to let people think that I am a man to be pampered by my own wife? I cannot allow that to happen.” “ Pooh! We can borrow some food then.” Said the cheetah. “Cheetah, you know what I think about that. NO debt, no borrowing. There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and debt.” He replied. “ We will go on a short time longer without hunting so that there will be no struggle.” There was no point arguing with lion, for when it came to money even her cunning and devious ways could not work.
The cheetah knew that there was not enough food. So while the lion was sleeping she snuck out quietly and went to hunt for food. But when the lion got better he realized that there was more food than he expected. So he asked the cheetah and she replied that there was more food than she thought, she also said that she managed the food well. “Oh, my darling is acting as a responsible lion! For that I am going to reward you with a nice hunting!” said the lion.
So the two of them happily went to hunt. But as the lion tried to show the cheetah how to hunt, he couldn’t have her under control; the cheetah would hunt how a cheetah would hunt, fast and viciously, and not how the lion hunted. And this made the lion a bit angry. And while they were running with each other, they fell into a puddle with water and the cheetah’s spots were showing. “What is this?” the lion asked. “Why do you have such peculiar spots on your fell?” “Oh, lion dear, these are nothing” she replies as she is tumbling around licking her paws. Then the lion realizes that the cheetah is not a lion, she is far too fast and too graceful to be al lion. He then asks her if this is true. She tries to avoid the question but in the end the truth is revealed.
“Have you been lying to me this whole time? You shall never come close to the kids again! Have I been living a life that is not real with you?” the lion said very angrily. “Yes, lion. It is true, I am a cheetah. But that does not matter lion. What matters is that we are a family and that we are living a happy life.” The cheetah said. The lion then replied: “I shall not make myself be ridiculed by you. A lion only lives with lions. Allowing a cheetah to live with me will only show my weakness to the people.” “If you are unwilling to change lion, then as I am now, I am no wife for you. Goodbye Lion.” The cheetah said as she walked away steadily. The cheetah could not bear to live another day of a life where she had to become an entirely different person, just so she can stay in a house.
In the end the cheetah walked away sadly from what she had wanted and the lion lost what he should have cherished the most, his beloved the cheetah. All of this happened because all the cheetah was after was “a perfect life”, which happened to be a fake one too. And of course because the lion cared about his reputation more than he did about his family. One should never live a life without meaning. A meaningless life shall always fall apart.
Ibsen,Henrik.A Doll’s House.New York.Dover Thrift Publications.1992.print.