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.
Often times, literary works can easily distinguish between a good character or an evil character. Other times, a character can be very complex, which makes it difficult to characterize the character as good or evil. This complex character complex is known as Moral Ambiguity. In other words, readers are discouraged from identifying a character as purely good or evil. One particular character that can be views as morally ambiguous is a woman named Edna Pontellier.
Prevalent concept in the novel is the concept of the “mother-woman”, which is something Edna Pontellier deeply struggles with. “I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself. I can't make it more clear; it's only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me” (chapter 16). A woman may fulfil other roles than those of a mother or a wife. Therefore, the novel tackles the issue of the sense of self, inner and outer.
Rebollo Page 1 Throughout history there have been time periods in which people were not treated fairly but does that necessarily have to have an effect on how you carry yourself? In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, the main character faces oppression during the 1890s because of the fact that she is a woman. Being a woman during this time was hard because the expectations were ridiculous but Edna’s attempt to break free was pathetic. Pathetic may be considered as a strong word but it fits Edna well because her actions were a sad excuse for an attempt at life.
In the book The Awakening by Kate Chopin, symbols play a big role in bringing out the theme of Edna Pontellier’s awakening. One specific symbol defines Edna’s journey which is the bird symbol. Edna, including all the women in her time are trapped by the constraints placed upon them by a male-dominant society. But Edna is the only one who decides to live life as she pleases following her whims and not living under someone’s demands. Edna represents the birds because she thinks she is free, but birds get trapped, just like how Edna gets trapped in having to follow social norms.
Fighting for Freedom Martin Luther King Jr.is an activist for African American rights. He inspires many through his peaceful protests and his famous speech, “I Have a Dream”. Similarly, Edna Pontellier is an activist and inspires women through literature like Martin Luther King Jr. empowers African Americans. In Kate Chopin’s novella, The Awakening set in the Victorian Era and published in 1899, Edna is an advocate for women’s rights.
Awakening In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve experienced a sudden moment of realization, they become aware of themselves and their surroundings. This “awareness” led to their demise and created a door for sin. Likewise, the main character in the novel “The Awakening” experiences a sudden moment of awareness. Like many women of her time, she tried to follow the tracks laid out for her, trying to please the eyes of the people.
The Peter Seyersted quote provided describes Kate Chopin 's novel The Awakening as many things, including “daring”, revolutionary, and groundbreaking. Whether or not these claims are accurate is mostly a matter of opinion, but by analyzing the passage provided from the novel, I will attempt to identify and explain my own reaction to the quotation, and how this section informs it. The passage begins: “Edna walked on down the beach... not noticing anything special except that the sun was hot. ”1
Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening opens with a scene of two birds, emphasizing that the motif of birds later within the novel will play an important part with setting the constant metaphor they bring. Throughout the whole novel the motif of birds is a metaphor for the Victorian women during that period -- caged birds serve as reminders of Edna’s entrapment and the entrapment of Victorian women in general. Edna makes many attempts to escape her cage (husband, children, and society), but her efforts only take her into other cages, such as the pigeon house. Edna views this new home as a sign of her independence, but the pigeon house represents her inability to remove herself from her former life, due to the move being just “two steps away” (122).
The bird is often used throughout The Awakening as a symbol of Edna Pontellier and Mademoiselle Reisz, and the struggles that they face during Edna’s awakening. This symbol functions to enhance the women's characters by magnifying the desire for solitude and provide a deeper context on the endeavor that many women faced during the Victorian Era as they were pressure to follow the same rules. The opening scene of The Awakening is important to understanding the complex symbol of the caged bird. Madame Lebrun, the owner of the cottages on Grand Isle, cares for two birds, a green and yellow parrot and a mockingbird, that hang on the either side of the door to her house.
In the book the Awakening, the protagonist Edna Pontellier surrendered in the most serious ways, death. From the beginning to the end Edna changed how she acted. When her true character came to the surface Edna decided to surrender. When Edna surrenders and kills herself I believe that it was an act of triumph and that it was her way of finally being free.
The Awakening Extra Credit Essay The theme of ‘’The Awakening’’ is freedom for Edna Pontellier. Freedom is what Edna is trying to achieve throughout the novel. Freedom is symbolized throughout the novel. Freedom is the mission that she hoped to achieve, but ultimately, never does.