Patriarchal societies have existed as long as there have been humans. From the beginning when men would hunt and women would gather, to the present day wage gap, men’s demonstration of superiority is evident throughout history. Women, historically, serve as accessories to men, seen not heard. However, some brave women question their role in society. Edna Pontellier, in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, conforms outwardly to the societal role of women existing only as mothers and wives but questions inwardly through exploration of her individuality and sexuality, as demonstrated through her relationships with her husband Leonce Pontellier and Robert Lebrun, yet her realization that her growth will not be accepted by others ultimately causes her death. …show more content…
Leonce is the perfect husband, successful and wealthy, and he gives Edna all that she could ask for. After he sends Edna a gift, “the ladies, selecting with dainty and discriminating fingers and a little greedily, all declared that Mr. Pontellier was the best husband in the world” (Chopin 10). Although outwardly he is caring, Leonce has no knowledge of Edna’s inner struggle or her dissatisfaction. Edna does not love Leonce. She admits, “Her marriage to Leonce Pontellier was purely an accident, in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of Fate…closing the portals forever behind her upon the realm of romance and dreams” (Chopin 18). In marrying Leonce, Edna abandoned her hopes for love and adventure. Although she thought that she would outgrow her childish desires, Edna still yearned for something more in her life. She did not fit her role as a housewife, “In short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman…They were women who idolized their children, worshiped their husbands” (Chopin 10), Edna is not one of them. She is unapologetic when she chooses how to live her life. Her refusal to conform to her societal role as a wife and mother demonstrates her inward
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Edna is married to Leoncé Pontellier, who she married to get away from her family and be free. She states, at one point in the novel, that she likes how Leoncé is obsessed with her but that she doesn't really love him the way she should and the way Leoncé loves her. Furthermore, Leoncé cares about his
During the nineteenth century, possessions, including women, and the home represented status, wealth, and power that only men possessed. In The Awakening, the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, becomes highly conscious of herself as an individual who has the potential to be self-sufficient and do as she desires. She begins to defy the standards of woman during the nineteenth century through iconoclastic beliefs that eventually lead Edna to participating in an affair and leaving her husband, Leonce. In The Awakening, Kate Chopin uses the motif of the home to highlight Edna’s responsibilities as a mother and wife and to also track the progression and evolution of Edna’s state of freedom.
Edna truly loves her children and she “does not neglect…” them but only “neglects her mother-woman image” (Skaggs). Mademoiselle Reisz was close friends with Edna. Reisz was an unmarried woman and she supported all of Edna’s decisions. She was also considered an artist because of her love for playing the piano (Skaggs). Women are very difficult to understand and are described to be “a very peculiar and delicate organism-a sensitive and highly organized woman…
Edna's struggle to reconcile her desires against traditional expectations provides insight into her moral and ethical dilemmas. Looking closely at her relationships with both of these men, Chopin elucidates Edna's changing understanding of morality and what is truly meaningful in her life. By examining Edna's interaction and feelings for both Leonce and Robert, Chopin provides a glimpse into her inner moral confusion and her eventual decision to choose an unconventional path. As a married woman, Edna frequently interacts with Robert without divulging the truth to Leonce. Though Robert and Edna both recognize the potentially scandalous nature of their relationship, he willingly engages and encourages Edna's feelings for him.
At the beginning Edna is described as a compliant house wife. In her youth she had been a romantic but upon marring Leonce she believed her romantic days were over. She willingly submitted to life with her husband instead of embracing and celebrating their matrimony. Chopin shows that the love and affection Leonce has for Edna outweigh that of hers.
Edna's end goal isn't to become a great artist like Mademoiselle Reisz and Madame Ratignolle. She instead uses art as an escapist venture because of her devotion to process over product. Edna is dedicated to spending time as her own person, rather than a possession of her husband, Léonce. She persists in her art (despite her husband's criticism), even going on to break new ground in her studio. Chopin writes, "Edna went up to her atelier--a bright colored room in the top of the house.
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.
In “The Awakening”, Robert Lebrun sacrifices his love and desire for Edna Pontellier because he knows that he can not be with her. This reveals that even though Robert was in love with Edna he knew what was right and he understood why he could not be with Edna. Robert sacrifices his love when he leaves for Mexico in search of business and at the end of the novel when he decides that he can not stay with Edna in her “pigeon-house”. When Robert leaves to Mexico in search of business and riches he does not tell Edna that he was planning on leaving after spending all day with her.
Lèonce Pontellier shows a lack of interest and enthusiasm for Edna and her hobbies. When Lèonce say’s ‘“What folly! To bathe at such an hour in such heat. ”’(Chopin 2) you are able to see Lèonce has a degree of frustration built up for his wife, Edna.
In Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening” shows a controversial protagonist, Edna Pontellier. The character in the novel showed different expectations for women and their supposed roles. One literary critic, Megan Kaplon showed how this novel can be viewed as a struggle of the world or society around her. Edna in the story is trying to find freedom and individuality Kaplon mentions that “one of her most shocking actions was her denial of her role as a mother and wife.”
Edna even says herself, “I would give up the unessential…my money…my life for my children, but not myself.” For her life, Edna realized that means her marriage and physical life. As far as her marriage, Edna was never truly happy with her marriage with Leonce. Furthermore, Edna states she truly cares for her children, but sometimes her search for herself may conflict with this. This then further discourages readers even more due to the fact that this gives insight to her actions, and somewhat justifies them.
Edna’s marriage to Leonce “was purely an accident, in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of Fate. It was in the midst of her secret great passion that she met him. He fell in love, as men are in the habit of doing, and pressed his suit with an earnestness and ardor which left nothing to be desired” (Chopin 18). As Edna’s awakening develops, she begins to act out of character, driven by her inward desires. She starts spending more and more time with Robert, and while Leonce is aware, he pays no attention to the affair.
She had these children with Léonce Pontellier, a forty-year-old, wealthy New Orleans businessman. He wishes Edna to continue the practices expected of New Orleans women, despite her clear distaste to do so. Unlike her friend, Adèle Ratignolle, who is a prime example of a typical Creole woman, Edna does not idolize her children and worship her
In Kate Chopin 's novel The Awakening and the short story “The Story of An Hour” feminist beliefs overshadow the value in moral and societal expectations during the turn of the century. Due to Louise Mallard and Edna Pontellier Victorian life style they both see separating from their husband as the beginning of their freedom. Being free from that culture allows them to invest in their personal interest instead of being limited to what 's expected of them. Chopin 's sacrifices her own dignity for the ideal of society’s expectations. Chopin 's sad, mysterious tone seems to support how in their era, there was a significant lack of women 's rights and freedom of expression.