Character Analysis Of Edna Pontellier's Character In 'The Awakening'

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Change can be caused by self­exploration and experience. These experiences can change one’s emotional feelings of the world around them. In Kate Chopin’s novel, T he Awakening, the protagonist, Edna Pontellier evolves into who she truly is. Edna transforms throughout the book from an unsatisfied wife and mother into an independent and selfish woman. Additionally, she transforms from a complacent young lady to a defiant woman who values her own desires over the opinions of society.
In the beginning, Edna is unsatisfied and is tied down to society’s expectations being complacent to others around her. In chapter one, Mr. Pontellier does not treat Edna with the love and respect like the other husbands of Grand Isle do. After Edna comes back from sun bathing outside, Mr. Pontellier says that Edna is “burnt beyond recognition” viewing her as “personal property” (Chopin 12). Mr. Pontellier expresses no affection towards Edna. He views her as an item in his possession. Although it is common for husbands to say this to their wives in this time period, Edna is looking for a man who truly loves her. After Mr. Pontellier comments on her appearance, Edna drew “up her lawn sleeves above the wrists” indicating that she still obeys her husband (12). When Mr. Pontellier returns from his social club, he scolds Edna forcing her to
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Early in the novel, she lives her life in misery like a bird trapped in a cage. She realizes that she should get to live the life she wants without following society’s expectations. This is shown when she begins to decline her daily duties such as not accepting any visitors on Tuesday, maintaining a well­balanced household, and not caring for her children. Ultimately, Edna becomes an impulsive and selfish woman leading her to drown herself in the sea. Kate Chopin uses Edna to show that change along with too much independence can lead to
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