Women during Edna’s time were supposed to be dedicated to their husbands and children, however, Edna yearned for her own independence, and as a result of wanting her own independence Edna knew that she was seen as a terrible person. For instance Edna wanted to “…try to determine what character of a woman I am; for, candidly, I don't know. By all the codes which I am acquainted with, I am a devilishly wicked specimen of the sex. But some way I can't convince myself that I am. I must think about it" (27.4).
Edna is the main character in the novel who sacrifices herself in the biggest way possible. She realizes that she cannot face the terms of motherhood and the forced marriage to Leonce Pontellier. Edna wants to be the independent women that she isn’t allowed to be, which the meaning of The Awakening is that people cannot be forced to be in a relationship with a person they don’t truly love. Towards the end of the book after Robert leaves her and as she thinks about her life and the events that have happened that she regretted. Edna said “She was trapped in motherhood.” She didn’t like the lifestyle she was given, she had lost the love for Leonce even though he was in love with her.
Edna’s characterization throughout The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, describes Edna as someone with burning passion who desires to improve not only her life, but the lives of future generations. However Edna’s actions make her often seem weak to the oppressive people around her; sometimes, and in this case unfortunately, good ideas and beliefs are stopped cold by one’s surrounding influences. Edna’s feminist attitude, though formidable, is no match for the individuals who accept the current society’s customs. I find Edna to be a weak person from a general standpoint. However the story masks this obviousness fact by illustrating some of Edna’s questionable actions.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin was published in 1899, during a time when males heavily dominated society. Being a domestic housewife and playing your role as a subordinate female, but also a motherly figure was your duty. Edna Pontellier, one of the main characters in The Awakening, begins to realize over time that it was not the life she wanted to live and has an “awakening” the title refers to. April Wheeler, in the Revolutionary Road, a 2008 film, based on the 1961 novel by Richard Yates, displays similar characteristics. Through an increase in freedom and self-awareness these women slowly gain control over the lives that are so heavily controlled by patriarchal society.
The Awakening is a novel written by Kate Chopin that follows a woman named Edna Pontellier on her journey to self-awareness. Edna lived a comfortable lifestyle with her husband and two children in Louisiana during the 19th century. Despite obtaining all aspects to a perfect life, Edna became dissatisfied after meeting Robert Lebrun in Grand Isle. Robert sparked a desire for unlawful lust as well as a yearning for independence in a society full of conformed standards. Edna was unable to handle the pressures associated with achieving personal freedom which ultimately led to her death.
The Awakening is a book written by Kate Chopin and it is quite a journey. Being just over a hundred pages in length, this novel gives an adequate picture of the protagonist Edna Pontellier, who consistently challenges the roles that society has placed on her. In her own words, she says “I would give my life for my children, but I wouldn’t give myself ” (45). This not only foreshadows her ultimate fate, but it also shows the readers that Edna is not willing to suppress her passions and desires for anybody. It appears that Chopin is making the argument in her book that Edna’s form of resistance, while admirable, comes at a price.
I can’t make it more clear; it’s only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me” (52). By calling her own life “unessential”, Edna recognizes that her roles in society as a wife and mother have never been characterized by any more than superficial behaviors and activities. After having an “epiphany” about her identity, Edna still understands her obligation to protect and care for her children, but now refuses to sacrifice her true, individual identity in the process. Edna’s awakening is evident in her desire to be her own person. She does not wish to be identified in relationship to other people, but rather to be valued for her own unique thoughts and
This is the first time she stood up to her husband by not obeying him. Edna then places another milestone during Mr. Pontellier’s trip to New York. She begins to have a life of her own. Edna goes out to horse races and starts seeing another man, Arobin. Most importantly, she decides to move out and buy her own small house.
In her husband’s relationship with Edna there is no question of his devotion to her, but the reader cannot ignore the issue of economics that continually comes up anytime he finds himself dissatisfied with his wife. Of course the division of labor by gender was normal in Victorian society and it was considered a woman’s job to take care of the home and children. As happens in the book, if Edna fell short of her “job” requirements, she would be reprimanded by Leonce. This behavior
Her sexual awakening had come and went when Robert did. Her will to live was gone and her depression consumed her like a fire. Loving her children was not enough, she made it clear that she could not sacrifice anymore pieces of herself for anyone. Edna’s feelings were, “The soul’s slavery that her children will drag her into is the role that society decrees for Edna: devoted wife and mother. It is exactly this – her identity – which Edna will not sacrifice for her children.