Adele And Edna Pontellier In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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Within the novel, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Madame Ratignolle’s character possesses traits that emphasize, by contrast the characteristics and behavior of Edna Pontellier. Despite being close friends within the novel, Adele and Edna have contrasting views and behaviors that illuminate the theme of female freedom and the tradition of female submission and male domination.
Madame Ratignolle and Edna Pontellier are close friends, but their views toward raising children differ fundamentally. Madame Ratignolle would sacrifice her identity to devote herself entirely to her children, household, and husband, whereas Edna would not. Besides their views towards raising children, how they raise their children also differs. Madame Ratignolle cares
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However, Creole women were expected to be chaste, and would behave in a unreserved manner. The exposure to such openness is what frees Edna from her previously repressed emotions and desires and motivates her to become more independent. Because they are women, Adele and Edna do not have much freedom, as in comparison to men. However, Edna gains more freedom that is much closer to that of men when she abandons her household and social responsibilities. Edna’s refusal to follow and obey social conventions, allows her to spend her time on painting and sketching. And with Leonce and the children’s absence, Edna branches off even further buying her own house and sustaining herself with a small income from her paintings. This allows Edna to gain even more independence from her household, children, and spouse, to the point that she has gone against the female submission rule in societies conventions. On the other hand, Adele is obedient and submissive to her household, husband, and children, rarely leaving the premise of her house. Because of Adele being the “mother-woman”(p.8) and following societies conventions, she is granted very little freedom as she can’t leave her house because of the duties she is expected to complete on a day to day basis. Adele’s obedience and Edna’s defiance contraste each other, effectively highlighting the themes of female submission and female freedom within the

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