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 …show more content…
Specifically, a person is defined by a sense of despair if one loses hope in their ability to exist (Copleston 30). Within the novel, Edna’s angst and frustration evolve into dread and despair as she realizes that she is unable to live in a manner that she pleases. Further, Chopin uses the ocean as a symbol to represent the pinnacle of Edna’s dread by altering the sea’s typical symbolic value from cleansing to death. For instance, at the start of the novel, Edna is ecstatic to go to the beach, seeing the opportunity to swim as cleansing. Chopin writes: “The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace” (Chopin 25). However, Edna’s excitement concerning the ocean soon turns to dread, beginning with when she experiences “ a certain ungovernable dread” and “a quick vision of death” while swimming, leaving her paralyzed in fear for a moment (Chopin 47- 48). Ultimately, Edna returns to the sea one final time at the end of the novel, overcome with a sense of despair as a result of her societal duress. Again, Chopin writes: “The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace” (Chopin 189). Though the description is the exact same, the connotation of the sea from Edna’s perspective has completely shifted. Specifically, the sea represents an end to the despair that has plagued Edna throughout the novel. Whereas as the beginning of the novel the ocean represented cleansing and excitement, Edna now views the sea as her only escape from her limited form in society. Thus, through an existential lens, the symbolic meaning of the sea changes throughout the story as Edna realizes her inability to overcome contemporary definitions of feminism and is forced to seek closure to her despair by turning to the sea one last
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
In Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”, the main character, Edna Pontellier, becomes awakened to herself, her need for nonconformity, and her strength through water and the sea. The water and sea serves a multitude of everyday purposes such as swimming, bathing, and drinking. However, Edna’s experiences with water are extremely symbolic, “awakening” her as a woman(48). In her first experience of swimming- in which she had “attempted all summer to learn”-she grew “overconfident” and “wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before” (47).
During the period between 1865 and 1920, the status of women in the United States experienced remarkable changes, setting the stage for the modern-day American woman. In my essay, I focus on the transformative impact of the suffrage battle and the crucial roles of education and industrialization in shaping women's lives. Throughout this era, women's lives underwent an unprecedented transition, evident in their united efforts in the suffrage campaign, increased participation in the labor force, and improved access to education. The suffrage campaign, spearheaded by influential figures like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, served as a primary driver for change, advocating for women's right to vote.
The Antebellum Period that lasted roughly from 1825–1850 is an era known for its many reform movements and major transformations in American society. Prior to the popularity of reform movements in American society was the 1828 election in which Andrew Jackson became the seventh president. Jackson professed himself the “champion of the common man,” where the “common man” meant white men. Nevertheless, his presidency caused the development of a more popular mass democracy, or Jacksonian Democracy as it is commonly referred to. The westward expansion that occurred during Jackson’s presidency lead to a shift in America’s economical makeup from a mercantile/market economy to capitalism.
Before the 1900s, women were portrayed as fragile individuals incapable of taking part in any hard work or making any decisions for themselves. Their dreams of taking part in the economy, politics, and society were denied simply due to their gender. It wasn’t until suffragists such as Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton decided to take a stand in 1848 and hold a meeting known as the Seneca Falls Convention. This was the first step towards a change for women’s rights that had lasting effects on American society. This suffrage movement grew influence throughout the Civil War and even post-war to the point where women all over the United States joined the suffragists in fighting for thier rights.
Adele has her sewing and Madame Reisz has her piano playing. One day, Edna agrees to go swimming with Robert. This experience awakens something inside her. She realizes swimming in the sea is some kind of escape for her. She can forget about all her responsibilities as a wife and a mother for a little while and just focus on herself.
Edna experiences the hardships of striving to break as a “ [feeling] like one who awakens gradually out of a dream, a delicious, grotesque, impossible dream, to feel again the realities pressing into her soul … the exuberance which had sustained and exalted her spirit left her helpless and yielding to the conditions which crowded her in … clutching feebly at the post before passing into the house.” (79). Through the imagery of a weight on her mind and feeble body, Chopin conveys her inability to find the strength to break the chains of the archetypal female identity. Extremely fleeting, her momentary empowerment clearly validates her circular growth rather than a building of personal development.
In addition, the search for self-identity is viewed as important in today’s society. Thus, these confliction attributes lead the reader to identify Edna as morally ambiguous. Categorizing complex characters as purely good or purely evil is not one of the easiest of tasks. As a result, it is best to characterize them as morally ambiguous. In Edna’s case, she is morally ambiguous due to her romantic affiliations and role-defying actions, but both are immensely vital to Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening” as a complete whole.
Adding on to other limitations, women almost had no freedom in their marriage. Before the women’s rights movement, when a woman is married the “husband and wife are one person” but “that person is the husband” (Doc 7). Once a woman is married, her rights and property were governed by the husband. Married women could not make wills or dispose of any property without their husband’s consent to do so.
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.
A few years later, after the widespread voices that ascended women into recognition for change, movements had begun to assemble in towards greater equality. Women had no place to be involved in political affairs, and as recognition started to manifest, in 1848, “the first women’s rights convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York.” (Imbornoni n.d, para. 2). The purpose of this convention was to acknowledge the equality between both genders and allow voting rights for women. This was the first women engagement into American Politics, it’s also the “story of women’s struggle to be treated as human beings –“separate and equal” “(Lynne 24).
Kate Chopin created a very complex character named Edna Pontellier in her novel The Awakening. Mrs. Pontellier is peculiar because her thoughts are consistently drury and she is insatiable. Chopin uses many different strategies to develop Mrs. Pontellier’s character such as imagery but the most prominent strategy is symbolism. Symbols featured in the story include birds, two lovers, a widow, and water. Whenever water appears in a story or novel it can often represent baptism, rebirth, and/or death.
As Edna becomes more comfortable in the water, she also becomes more in touch with her own emotions. One particular night, Edna is able to swim farther into the ocean than she ever had before - the same night when she realizes her own distaste with her marriage and her role in society. Chopin writes that while Edna was in the water, “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 (Chopin 27)”. This
The other reason makes Edna realize her own self is swimming, as if a release to her. Refer to what she said in the novel, to beyond other women, it can express that her aspiration on being alternative and get rid of the constraint from the society. Also that is the first body contact with Robert, she find herself in the ocean, and there is the place she longing, also aware of the freedom. Robert, is a boy she falls in love with, yet she aware of that, if she marries to Robert, her future just same as now, she will lose her freedom.
In The Awakening, Edna represents desire, impulse, and rebellion. While Adele represents the socially accepted woman, she is submissive, obedient, and a homemaker. This drastic contrast facilitates Chopin's emphasis on Edna’s rebellion, and how drastic it was for the time period. “Edna's experience of self-discovery, "tangled" and chaotic and therefore "vague" or hard for her to comprehend, touches upon a core issue, of individual variation and the uncertainty involved in its creation, expression, and consequences.” (Glendening).