Analysis Of Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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As both the United States and the world rapidly developed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, society evolved at a pace previously unimaginable. Electricity illuminated modern urban areas, cars began to dominate the streets, and families began to travel to movie theaters for a unique motion-picture experience. Yet, while the world was changing by the minute, some components of society were not reflective of societal revolution. Specifically, it was during the late 19th century that the conversation for women’s suffrage was even addressed for the first time, following the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. It would be an extensive and arduous 72 years until women were ultimately given the right to vote, officially delineating women as more than just the property of their husbands. During these decades, writers used their power of mass influence in order to garner support for the suffrage movement. One such author was Kate Chopin, who wrote her novel The Awakening at the turn of 20th- century. Published in 1899, The Awakening was deemed so controversial that it was not widely published or read until the mid-1900s. Within the novel, Chopin illustrates the plight of women across the country as the story follows Edna Pontellier, a young woman in New Orleans who struggles to find her own identity in a modern world where she is defined by those around her. Edna’s struggle to find her own definitions of femininity and motherhood mirror the existentialist movement that was
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