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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Clara Schwind Reeves AP English Literature & Composition 7 April 2023 Societal Standards in The Awakening The 1800s was a time of extensive division between genders; men were believed to be the stronger, more independent sex whereas women were looked down upon for being “overly emotional” and seen as their husband’s property. Women were expected to stay at home, keeping up with their household duties such as cooking and cleaning while raising their children in the manner deemed proper by their husbands. In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, the main character, Edna, is portrayed as a mother who is dissatisfied with her pre-determined place in society through her relationships with characters around her, symbolic imagery of her environment, and foreshadowing
Ever since Edna’s awakening, her life has become more black and white on melancholy days and more colorful and vibrant on bright, jolly days; there was no in between. For example, when Robert left for Mexico, Edna realized that he had “taken the brightness, the color, the meaning out of everything.” (Chapter 16) She was distraught by the fact that the man she was infatuated with for the past couple of weeks who stayed by her side for most of the hours in each day just left without any excusable explanation while her marriage to her husband was completely accidental and on the brim of falling apart. There was a big difference in how Edna accepted her marriage with Léonce in the beginning compared to the end.
Edna broke free from the mold of her society. She was trying to find her purpose and her worth in a world where she did not have many rights or individual stability. Edna Pontellier worked to disregard the influence and power of men and society as a whole to discover more about herself and what she really wanted out of life (Bommarito). She gave up the “unessential” such as her home, possessions, and reputation to do things for
For example, when the couple returns from Grand Isle, Edna begins to act on her own and refuses to show hospitality towards her guests and it begins to exasperate Mr. Pontellier. As the novel progresses, it is evident that the relationship between Mr. Pontellier and Edna is purely superficial; it lacks sentiment and is only picture perfect for society. Because Edna is portrayed as an object of her husband, it fits the the fact that marriages in the nineteenth century viewed women as an “object of others [rather than] the free subject of their own fates”
1. Introduction Published in 1899, The Awakening caused a lot of controversy and attracted strong criticism for its uncharacteristic representation of women, marriage, and society. The novel depicts the pursuit for self-identity and individualism of its protagonist Edna Pontellier in the conservative and socially restricted world of Victorian America. Edna is a woman who wants to pursue her passion for art and freedom, but cannot do so while being the obedient wife and doting mother society expects her to be. Her role as a leisure-class woman clashes strongly with her desire to be free and fulfilled.
“And to hide, even from herself as she would have hidden from another, the emotion which was troubling tearing her,” (Pg. 45) it becomes clear that Edna is experiencing an emotion that was never experienced and her sexual emotions stir within her, forcing a tear upon her cheek Through her experience with Robert, Edna learned to keep her emotional distance from men, in case she be hurt again. Another man comes into the life of Edna and completes the other half of her sexual awakening. Alcee Arobin notorious at being involved with many women, provides the catalytic path for
It is common for people in everyday society to conform to society’s expectations while also questioning their true desires. In the novel, The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, the main protagonist Edna Pontellier is said to possess, "That outward existence which conforms, the inward life that questions." In other words, Edna outwardly conforms while questioning inwardly. Kate Chopin, uses this tension between outward conformity and inward questioning to build the meaning of the novel by examining Edna’s role as a wife, mother, and as nontraditional woman in the traditional Victorian period. Edna outwardly conforms to society’s expectations by marriage.
This novel, The Awakening, is about a woman named Edna Pontellier learns to think of herself as an independent human being. Also, Edna Pontellier refuses to obey against the social norms by leaving her husband Leónce Pontellier and having an affair with Robert Lebrun. Kate Chopin describes societal expectations and the battle of fitting the mold of motherhood in the Awakening by how Edna Pontellier and Adele Ratignolle contribute to their family in different ways. Edna Pontellier’s attitude toward motherhood is that she is not a perfect mother-women. Adele Ratignolle’s attitude toward motherhood is that she is a perfect mother-women.
This married woman with two children had inadvertently fallen in love with another man. Although he leaves, Robert is the most important part of Edna's awakening. He is the one who gives her the love that her own husband will not. She starts to truly blossom when she falls for Robert. After he leaves, she often goes to Madame Lebrun's home to look at Robert's baby pictures.
Edna is struggling to choose a identity between a mother, wife, lover etc. She seems to not want to be subject as the possession of anybody. She focuses on independence even denying Robert of her love towards him which if she chose to stay with him, she would be associated with him and therefore labeled. She looks up to Madame Reisz as an independent woman, pursuing her passions and doing as she pleases. "I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn 't give
Edna Pontellier in the novel, The Awakening, is a self-driven woman determined to become independent and free whilst undergoing a significant change in behavior throughout the novel. She attempts to withstand societal expectations by doing certain things that were not socially acceptable during this time period. While doing so, she experiences many different struggles during her awakening. These struggles that Edna undergoes may be described as internal as well as external. In the awakening, there is a constant conflict between inner and outer Edna.
Brendan Moxley Mrs. Barton AP Lang & Comp/p.6 28 October 2014 The Awakening Essay Throughout her novel The Awakening, Kate Chopin utilizes clear, picturesque diction to create a independent tone, bold extended metaphors, and varied syntax in order to express the necessity for women to discover and act as themselves at their own discretion despite society’s limiting standards. Chopin employs eloquent, depictive diction in order to create an unconstrained tone, to illustrate the setting, and to further emphasize that women should not be bound by society.
In Kate Chopin’ s novel, The Awakening, there are three identities inside of the female leading role, Edna Pontellier, being a wife, mother and own self. Edna was born in 19th century at the Vitoria period, a patriarchy society, women have low freedom to achieve personal goal. She married with Léonce Pontellier, a wealthy man with Creole descent. After having a child, her life is still unchangeable and as bored as before. Until she encountered Robert Leburn, Mademoiselle Reisz, and Alcée Arobin, her value of self-cognition has changed.
If he were to say, ‘Here, Robert, take her and be happy; she is yours,’ I should laugh at the both of you” (108). Throughout the story Edna’s feelings for Robert grow stronger and deeper, so that by the end of the novel she simply longs to be with him. Yet parallel to that growth Edna has discovered her self and developed her own identity. The idea of a transfer of ownership of her person from one man to another is abhorrent to her, so much so that it would cause her to abandon her dream of being with Robert. Though she wants that very much, she is unwilling to lose her own identity in the process as she did when she was with Mr. Pontellier.
Edna Pontillier in Kate Chopin’s novella The Awakening seeks independence and freedom via an unconventional lifestyle that creates her internal conflict. The conflict is sparked by the Apollonian and Dionysian ways of life that surround Edna. The two contrasting forces influence her decisions and the way she interacts with others. Edna’s Dionysian and Apollonian influences effect the way that she treats her children, interacts with her husband, and relates to other women in her town.