Conflict In The Awakening

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“No body, but he who has felt it, can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have a man’s mind torn asunder by two projects of equal strength, both obstinately pulling in a contrary direction at the same time.” Laurence Sterne’s quote of mental conflict relates to Kate Chopin’s novel, “The Awakening”, where Chopin’s main character faces contrasting influences concerning her life. The two influences which direct the actions of Chopin’s main character, Edna, are the novel’s contemporary views concerning a woman’s position in society, and Edna’s unorthodox personal opinions. Both opposing impacts form the mental contrast which directs Edna’s inner conflict throughout Chopin’s novel, and Edna’s conflicting influences prove to illuminate the meaning …show more content…

Chopin uses time period to her advantage and employs a constraining mentality as a means of shaping Edna’s conflict throughout the story. This is well displayed as Chopin writes that, “...her [Edna’s] new and unexpected line of conduct completely bewildered him. It shocked him. Then her absolute disregard for her duties as a wife angered him” (61-62). As Edna begins to disregard society’s expectations of her as a wife, her husband describes his opinion which is primarily formed by the social expectations of women. The time period’s expectations prove to serve as the first influencing factor which strains Edna’s mentality concerning her freedom. Additionally, this use of societal expectation by Chopin proves to illuminate the overall meaning of her novel. By providing social impact as the driving force of her character’s conflict, Chopin provides commentary on the overbearing social expectations attached to women in both past and present times. The use of society’s influence as a primary conflict serves as a means of providing social commentary and questioning to both the modern and contemporary social standings of women and people as a whole. Chopin uses the struggles and opinions of her main character as a means of illustrating society’s forceful impact in a negative

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