Edna Pontellier's Awakening Character Analysis

906 Words4 Pages
Lisa Cifuentes
5th Pd. AP English IV Mrs. Zimmerman
4 December 2015
Edna Pontellier’s Awakening
In “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, the title holds great significance, symbolically describing the transformation that Edna Pontellier undergoes as she realizes that the conventions of her society have been constraining her from becoming her true, independent self. Edna’s awareness of her duality of self, her private emotional life, and the loneliness that accompanies her newfound freedom are all clear evidence that she truly becomes enlightened and revived by the end of the novel. The inability of the other characters in this novel to hinder Edna’s transformation is a reflection of society’s complete powerlessness against the inner flame of emotion
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I can’t make it more clear; it’s only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me” (52). By calling her own life “unessential”, Edna recognizes that her roles in society as a wife and mother have never been characterized by any more than superficial behaviors and activities. After having an “epiphany” about her identity, Edna still understands her obligation to protect and care for her children, but now refuses to sacrifice her true, individual identity in the process. Edna’s awakening is evident in her desire to be her own person. She does not wish to be identified in relationship to other people, but rather to be valued for her own unique thoughts and…show more content…
She was “no longer [...] content to “feed upon opinion” when her own soul had invited her” (Chopin 103), summoning her to experience the rich and complex world that inhabited her being. However, as Edna’s ability for self-expression grows, the amount of people who can truly empathize with her gets increasingly smaller. The fact that solitude becomes a direct result of Edna’s independence is clear evidence of her awakening. Since the societal expectations of the late 1800s gave Victorian women very limited opportunities for individual expression, they preventing them from tending to their own wants and needs. For this reason, as Edna acknowledges her desire for freedom and verbalizes her emotions, she is met with disappointing resistance from the world surrounding her. Furthermore, when she decides once and for all
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