Conformity In The Awakening

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Often times when a person is forced to outwardly conform while questioning themselves it leads to a struggle between their inner selves and what is expected of them. Outward conformity often oppresses a character’s true feelings of loneliness and being misunderstood. In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, leads a dissatisfactory life. She is stuck in a loveless marriage, and has children, all in an attempt to conform to the social norm of the Victorian woman. However, she inwardly questions whether or not she should try to break free from this life to find her own independence and happiness. Edna continually questions whether or not she is destined to live a life of subordination or if she can find her own freedom. Edna Pontellier’s defiant nature is brought out…show more content…
Edna tries to satisfy this desire by taking part in an adulterous affair with Alcee Arobin, a known playboy. However, this relationship doesn’t satisfy Edna’s wish for companionship as she uses Alcee only to satisfy her sexual desires. This all changes once Edna meets Robert Lebrun, who invokes a sense of excitement and love in Edna. Edna sees her relationship with Robert as her only chance to gain freedom from the confines of society; additionally Robert gives Edna the chance to have a fulfilling relationship as opposed to her loveless one with Leonce. Although the two are deeply in love with one another, Robert is unable to reciprocate Edna’s desires to be together. He, unlike Edna, cannot escape the confines of society as Edna is still married to Leonce, a fact that he is well aware of. Edna has embraced her awakening and has rejected societal norms; however, Roberts’s unreciprocated love serves as a sign to Edna that she is truly alone in her awakening. The relationship between Edna and Robert serves as a constant reminder that Edna is still confined by social
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