In 1899, society bestowed a norm on women that includes solely maintaining their household and maintaining an honorable name. However, The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, characterizes women in a way they had never been written before, taking the standard role of woman away and giving them their own voice and needs. Chopin utilizes two women on opposite ends of the spectrum of society to compare Edna, the protagonist, to as she beings her journey through her transformation of morals and beliefs. During the late 1800s, creole women carry the responsibility of being beautiful mothers, who devote their lives to their families indefinitely. A Woman is considered the property of her husband, making sure that he is cared for and content at all times, …show more content…
Ratignolle and starts associating with Mademoiselle Reisz. As Edna and Mademoiselle Reisz’s relationship grows, so does Edna’s need for change and her admiration of Robert increases. Mademoiselle Reisz does not condone Edna’s love for Robert, yet, she does not attempt to talk Edna out of it. The only response Mademoiselle Reisz expresses to Edna’s feelings for Robert is, “Why do you love him when you ought not to? (Chopin 78)” This does not effect the way Edna feels though, and eventually concludes with an affair with Robert. These affairs Edna becomes intertwined with is her greatest disregard for her husband, as well as, her attempt to become happy with who she is. Edna eventually realizes that she is her own person and is not the property of any man in society. She reacts to this by buying a different house with money she inherited from her mother, earned from her art, as well as, gambling on horse races. In actuality all the money belongs to her husband, because woman can not own property. She views this money as her own, that she earned and can do whatever she pleases with it. Edna does not realize the significants of this when she acts, but by the end recognizes her own self-worth, she expresses this to
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The Awakening is a novel written by Kate Chopin that tells the story of Edna Pontellier. The beginning of the novel takes place in Grand Isle, which during the summer is inhabited by upper-class Creole families from New Orleans who want to escape from the heat and relax by the ocean. During one particular summer, Edna meets Robert Lebrun, who every summer shadows a particular women. Throughout the course of the summer both Edna and Robert become inseparable and Edna begins to grow fond of Robert; emotions that Edna have never experienced before even as a married women. These emotions bring a sense of change in Edna.
She loves to play piano and doesn’t care about the opinions of others. This helps Edna do the same but through art. Edna learns that Mademoiselle Reisz is writing with Robert, and she is the only one who knows about their love for each other.
Every situation has it own point of view. In the novel, Edna attempted to convinved herself that whateer dishonesty she was doing was not wrong. She seems to be drowning herself in her own issues. throughout the novel, she commits moral crimes such as maintaining a false marriage.
After swimming successfully, she develops feelings for Robert. After this awakening, Edna starts to step back and rethink her entire life; her marriage, her role, and even herself. She realizes she feels sort of imprisoned in this life she has had for so long. Edna finally starts doing things for her, she is letting herself feel an attraction for another man even though she is married and she also gets into art and has everyone in the house model for her. Rather than doing things to get the house ready for her husband or spending time playing with her children, she is distracted by all her newly found
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 constantly struggles to realize her true desires and to understand her inner emotions and personal preferences. Part of her is always trying to establish a new outer persona while also trying to determine what she wants on the inside. She has an inner conflict between loving her family and showing compassion for them, or facing her honest yearning for a different lifestyle, breaking away from the expectations and standards of society. In the end, this internal argument causes her to fully realize that in her time period, what she truly wants is unattainable, especially after dealing with rejection from Robert and disappointment in her marriage. Overall, Mrs. Pontellier is trying to be herself in a world where a pre-existing set of rules already determine who she
Women during Edna’s time were supposed to be dedicated to their husbands and children, however, Edna yearned for her own independence, and as a result of wanting her own independence Edna knew that she was seen as a terrible person. For instance Edna wanted to “…try to determine what character of a woman I am; for, candidly, I don't know. By all the codes which I am acquainted with, I am a devilishly wicked specimen of the sex. But some way I can't convince myself that I am. I must think about it" (27.4).
“She is not one of us; she is not like us. She might make the unfortunate blunder of taking you seriously”(Chopin, 26). This quote means Adele Ratignolle is warning Robert Lebrun to stay away from Edna Pontellier. “"Oh, enough, Robert!" she broke into his heated outburst.
I don’t wish to go in, and I don’t intend to. Don’t speak to me like that again; I shall not answer you’” (Chopin 41). This is the first time she stood up to her husband by not obeying him. Edna then places another milestone during Mr. Pontellier’s trip to New York.
This neutral perspective from Kate Chopin allows the reader to interpret Edna’s actions on their own terms. Chopin shows no sign of judgement towards Edna and her actions or those who surround her and their actions. Although the novel doesn’t show a “positive alternative” to the cult of domesticity displayed, Chopin doesn’t endorse the conventional role either (Hytönen). This is significant in the manner that it exemplifies women in the 1800’s wanted to break free of societal norms however they couldn’t imagine an existing, or even close to existing, world where they could freely express themselves without fearing criticism and condemnation during that time. Hytönen introduces Nancy Walker in his article whom notices that The Awakening doesn’t “promote women’s liberation or equality” because everyone else, except Edna and Mme.
The house constantly reminded her of how she had to take care of them, maintain the house, and essentially raise two children by herself. This was a battle that was over before it started, in reality, all Edna wanted was to be loved. She tried to love other people like her children at first, but how can you love someone when you have no love to give? Edna soon gave up, and went out into the world to find fulfillment and happiness something she was starved of in the
Moreover, when her children tumbled, she will not pick them up just let them get up on their own. In contrast to Adele, Edna is not contributing herself to her family as well as Adele. Edna tries to fit in as the role to be a good mother, but, she cannot definitely, to be a mother-woman cannot fulfill her eagerness to be a special, independent and egocentric person. In Chapter XVI, Edna said to Adele, she would give her money and her life to children, but never herself. And that is what she is trying to understand and recognize.
In the end, she knew she could never find true happiness or freedom because of society; she chose to die instead (Skaggs). Unlike the other female characters, “Edna will not settle for living as less than a complete person; but forces beyond her control doom inexorably her search for a full, meaningful, and satisfying individuality” (Skaggs). After Robert left her, Edna’s heart shattered. The women around her did not understand what she was going through, in the end, she had to face her “awakening” alone (Elfenbein). Edna was suffering “under the liberty in which she must justify her existence.
Edna sets personhood limits on how much she would give up for her children through a recalled conversation with Adele where Edna spoke her views on motherhood: “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” (47). Her statement is revealing because Edna goes against what society says a woman is supposed to feel towards her children. She would give up superficial things like money, or a even a vital thing - her life - for her children. However, Edna states her unwillingness to become a ministering angel where to reach divine status she would have to erase her personhood, who she is as an individual. Edna will not give up her self for anything.