The author uses a comparison and contrast between Madame Ratignolle and Edna Pontellier to show how these two ladies are different from one another. Chopin emphasizes how feminine Madame Ratignolle is to demonstrate how Edna seems to be an outcast from the Creole society. Chopin chooses to incorporate the appearance of the two ladies to support the fact that Edna feels like she does not fit in, especially when Leonce refers to Madame Ratignolle in some parts of the novel. How Conventionality is Being Challenged “She was blindly following whatever impulse moved her, as if she had placed herself in alien hands for direction, and freed her soul of responsibility.”
This socially constructed identity is the first of the many that Edna grapples with in the text. It is the identity of women within the time period of the text. In the words of Dix, Edna’s identity is meant to be that of a typical American wife who will control the home, children and entertain socially yet remain obedient to her working husband (146). ‘Looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property’ (Chopin 4). The
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.
Such experiences as the foregoing were not uncommon in her married life. (Chopin III)” Chopin uses the super detailed description of Edna crying to appeal to the audience and demonstrate how Edna’s current situation is exceedingly unpleasant. In both situations the authors use pathos to appeal to the audience and show the characters in dark and unpleasant situations to display how horrendous their situations
However, Creole women were expected to be chaste, and would behave in a unreserved manner. The exposure to such openness is what frees Edna from her previously repressed emotions and desires and motivates her to become more independent. Because they are women, Adele and Edna do not have much freedom, as in comparison to men. However, Edna gains more freedom that is much closer to that of men when she abandons her household and social responsibilities. Edna’s refusal to follow and obey social conventions, allows her to spend her time on painting and sketching.
For many years, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening was considered perhaps one of the most scandalous novels written by a woman about a woman’s sexual and spiritual liberation and independence. Much of Chopin’s fiction has been praised as a celebration of female sexuality, conspicuously highlighting the tension between erotic desire and the demands that come from marriage, family life, and society (Martin 1). Unlike other literary contemporaries, Chopin does not attempt to moralize her heroines’ moral frailty, and more importantly she unapologetically allows her heroines’ unconventional sexuality to thrive (Martin 6). Only recently has The Awakening been acknowledged as a well-crafted narrative of Edna Pontellier’s struggle between individuality and
She even committed suicide due to the fact of how badly she needed to free herself from the Creole lifestyle. Edna, a remarkable lady in a sense, rebelled against the norms of society to openly be herself. People like Edna, or people brave enough to take a chance to change societal norms, come rare to find, especially during the late 1800’s. Edna never agreed to anything she did not want, after the marriage to Leonce, and was quite straight-forward with her desires. Edna, ideally, is a great role model to look up to in today’s world for filling that brave, young woman role to not let society shape her, despite the few occurrences she had intimate moments with multiple men or her carelessness towards her children.
Edna fully understands that society would brand her as a terrible woman, but she does not view herself as a bad person. There is an external and internal difference that Edna hopes to one day reconcile. Chopin, instead of creating tension within Edna, created tension within the society and Edna with her newfound independence does not mind how society classifies her. Decisively, it can be concluded that the tension between outward conformity and inward questioning builds the meaning of the novel by examining Edna’s role as a wife, mother, and as nontraditional woman in the traditional Victorian period.
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.
Her frequent vacations to the island, like her frequent dips into the ocean, begin to spark a personal change within the woman. A Creole man, Robert, shows Edna a new dimension of feelings she never knew she lived without, and she begins to look through life through a new lens. Having been awakened for the first time, she sees injustice and mistreatment where she saw none before. Chopin uses Edna’s new observations and reactions to the culture around her to illustrate the myriad ways women were marginalized. In an ironic twist, the white woman from Kentucky proves to be more liberated than her more traditional husband, who grew up
Edna said that she would give up unessentials for her children, which means that she does not care about them. Kate Chopin uses Adele to describe how a typical dedicated wife should treat her husband and children. Edna is not Creole and she does not treat her husband and her children right.
Through Enda’s transformation, Chopin poses a question to the reader: Can one express complete individuality in a married relationship? Leonce Pontellier’s authority
At the beginning of the novel, Edna had appeared to be recognizing the fact that her life revolves around her husband and her children, and that it is her main duty to care for them. It is mainly Mr. Pontellier, her husband, who tries to establish an image of her being a both a perfect partner and wife. He views her as an object that must be suitable for the eyes of society. According to him, his wife is a “valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage” (Chopin 2). He is controlling over her appearance and actions.
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.
The Escape Kate Chopin’s Realist novel depicts a young mother, Edna Pontellier, trying escape society’s constraints. The Romantic traits incorporated into the novel help to show Edna’s struggle for independence. As Edna tries to escape, it becomes clear that the world she is trying to enter is the seemingly simple and beautiful transcendental world. Despite being smart and persistent, Edna is having a hard time escaping from the Victorian duties tying her down.