Autonomy In The Awakening

631 Words3 Pages

The path to self-discovery can be lengthy, but unlocking those defining attributes brings euphoric happiness. In Kate Chopin’s, The Awakening, the main character Edna Pontellier, a young woman living in the late nineteenth century, is constricted by societal pressures. Forced to fit into the role of the idealistic, elegant mother-woman, Edna struggles as her true character is unable to shine. Suffocating on the inside a breakthrough is needed to live her life without regret. Edna Pontellier finally awakens by shattering the stereotypes of women and exploring dynamic relationships with others on her own.
Edna refuses traditional gender roles to make her own independent choices in life. Women were seen as objects during this time period, belonging …show more content…

One male friend, Robert Lebrun, eventually turns into a lover for Edna, and without him, she feels absent of “brightness… color… [and] the meaning of … everything” (Chopin 61-62). This relationship of pure love she has built with Robert alters her perception of her own marriage. The connection concludes she was rushed into her husband, never once honestly loving Mr. Pontellier. Robert teaches Edna how to truly care, giving her purpose and motivation. Another male figure to alter her perceptions is Alcée Arobin, the bond being different from Robert as he acts “like a narcotic upon her” (Chopin 105). Cheating on Mr. Pontellier with Alcée, she has newly discovered absolute infatuation. This sexual awakening strengthens her womanhood. Although the brief affair offers little long-term, Alcée provides Edna with true desire, temptation, and excitement, never of which she had before. Lastly, the distinct character who contributes to her artistic and creative awakening is Mademossile Reiz, an out-of ordinary-woman, like Edna is very independent. As Edna visits this mentor figure more frequently, she becomes inspired and confident with her hobby of painting. Edna is able to express her emotions through the process and becomes an all-around happier individual when pursuing her interests. These relationships assist Edna in working on herself, all contributing to her

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