She was “no longer [...] content to “feed upon opinion” when her own soul had invited her” (Chopin 103), summoning her to experience the rich and complex world that inhabited her being. However, as Edna’s ability for self-expression grows, the amount of people who can truly empathize with her gets increasingly smaller. The fact that solitude becomes a direct result of Edna’s independence is clear evidence of her awakening. Since the societal expectations of the late 1800s gave Victorian women very limited opportunities for individual expression, they preventing them from tending to their own wants and needs. For this reason, as Edna acknowledges her desire for freedom and verbalizes her emotions, she is met with disappointing resistance from the world surrounding her.
Edna started spending more time painting and working on her own masterpieces. She began to focus all of her time on her hobby, eventually trying to turn it into a job by selling her artwork for some extra money. Edna eventually began to contemplate moving out of her home into a nice little home so she could paint in peace and be lost in her own little world of art. She loved artwork and began to neglect other aspects of her life.
This socially constructed identity is the first of the many that Edna grapples with in the text. It is the identity of women within the time period of the text. In the words of Dix, Edna’s identity is meant to be that of a typical American wife who will control the home, children and entertain socially yet remain obedient to her working husband (146). ‘Looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property’ (Chopin 4). The
Patriarchal societies have existed as long as there have been humans. From the beginning when men would hunt and women would gather, to the present day wage gap, men’s demonstration of superiority is evident throughout history. Women, historically, serve as accessories to men, seen not heard. However, some brave women question their role in society. Edna Pontellier, in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, conforms outwardly to the societal role of women existing only as mothers and wives but questions inwardly through exploration of her individuality and sexuality, as demonstrated through her relationships with her husband Leonce Pontellier and Robert Lebrun, yet her realization that her growth will not be accepted by others ultimately causes her death.
Edna is definitely not the ideal wife or mother role, but she could be known as being a great leader for rebelling against society and the general idea of a general woman’s characteristics- others never influenced her decisions and she only ever followed what she felt best suited herself, which is what made her the strong woman she expressed herself as throughout the
The most rewarding attributes of this experience for Edna would be the feeling of satisfaction of conquering something in a world where woman are seen as nothing; much like a child’s excitement at their newly gained knowledge. In Chopin’s own word she describes “A feeling of exultation overtook her as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul” (page27). Although she is not ashamed of who she is becoming there is still a need to hide which is greatly caused by her surroundings. This can be seen when Edna takes her turn reading a shared book that has been passed around the cottages. Reading this book left her wonderstruck
Edna fully understands that society would brand her as a terrible woman, but she does not view herself as a bad person. There is an external and internal difference that Edna hopes to one day reconcile. Chopin, instead of creating tension within Edna, created tension within the society and Edna with her newfound independence does not mind how society classifies her. Decisively, it can be concluded that the tension between outward conformity and inward questioning builds the meaning of the novel by examining Edna’s role as a wife, mother, and as nontraditional woman in the traditional Victorian period.
Albert D. Saba Mr. Amoroso AP Literature Period: 3AP Topic: 1 LAP The Awakening A novel by Kate Chopin Will the chains and the unspoken pain unshackle through one’s heroic individualism? In the novel, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier becomes a heroic figure to herself as well as for women through the search of her self-identity.
“The children appeared before her like antagonists who had overcome her; who had overpowered and sought to drag her into the soul’s slavery for the rest of her days” (Chopin 127). Edna will not allow her self to be chained to its natural and societal titles, and she commits suicide to free it from these definitions. In a final statement as to the universality of motherhood, Edna’s acceptance of death is also a rebirth. Nine months have passed since Edna’s enlightening summer in Grand Isle, and her fetus-self is ready to be delivered.
I grew up hearing the saying that a little girl could have an old soul, or that someone is well beyond their years. These sayings are popular to societies, because they try to explain why certain individuals differentiate from the acceptable norms in ways that may be more complicated than just personality traits. In The Awakening, Edna Pontellier is no exception. Her society’s expectations differ from who she is and how she is willing to act so that she would fit in. Chapter one of The Awakening begins the story with several examples of how Edna does not fit in with her society.
Edna broke free from the mold of her society. She was trying to find her purpose and her worth in a world where she did not have many rights or individual stability. Edna Pontellier worked to disregard the influence and power of men and society as a whole to discover more about herself and what she really wanted out of life (Bommarito). She gave up the “unessential” such as her home, possessions, and reputation to do things for
Edna developed a yearning for the pursuit of passion and sensuality, two major qualities that were absent in her marriage and home. She became enchanted with the idea of passionate love. This is shown by her relationship with Robert and with Alcée. These relationships resulted in a sexual awakening in Edna’s life. Mademoiselle Reisz 's piano performances brought an emotional awakening in Edna and fed her need for some drama in her life.
In Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening” shows a controversial protagonist, Edna Pontellier. The character in the novel showed different expectations for women and their supposed roles. One literary critic, Megan Kaplon showed how this novel can be viewed as a struggle of the world or society around her. Edna in the story is trying to find freedom and individuality Kaplon mentions that “one of her most shocking actions was her denial of her role as a mother and wife.”