Examples Of Romanticism In The Awakening By Kate Chopin

1794 Words8 Pages

Tabitha Schlatt
Honors English II
March 6, 2023
Romanticism to Realism in American Literature
“She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world,” professes author Kate Chopin about her feminist protagonist, Edna Pontellier, in her groundbreaking novel The Awakening. This highly controversial literary piece shocked its audience since women during the early nineteen hundreds were restricted by sexist social expectations. Chopin’s unprecedented character wants to be more than a housewife and proclaims so with pride. The rise of the feminist movement sparked the American Literary Realism period noted for the new Naturalistic ideals such as heredity, …show more content…

The Realist period illuminated women’s ideology, challenging the sexist narrative male writers pushed on women. Literary stereotypes notably reveal “characterizations of women . . . dominated by what one might call the male voice . . . The stereotypes in women vary, but they vary in response to different masculine needs. The flattering frequency with which women appear in the literature is ultimately deluding: they appear not as they are, certainly not as they would define themselves, but as conveniences to the resolution of masculine dilemmas” (Wolff 207). Realistic writers provided examples of the male-dominate hierarchy in multiple works such as Bret Harte’s “Outcasts of Poker Flats “where diverse, town-exiled characters succumb to dreadful winter snow. Not only does Harte develop the storyline, providing women as the reasons for each the male’s fate, but also foreshadows the main characters’ deaths by mentioning an incident where prostitutes came to their demise; the author alludes to “ . . . two men who were then hanging from the boughs of a sycamore in the gulch . . . temporarily in the banishment of certain other objectionable characters. I regret to say that some of these were ladies. It is but due to the sex, however, to state that their impropriety was professional, and it was only in such easily established standards of evil that Poker Flat ventured to sit in judgment” (Harte …show more content…

Naturalistic writing commonly consists of “ill-educated or lower-class characters whose lives are governed by the forces of heredity, instinct, and passion. Their attempts at exercising free will or choice are hamstrung by forces beyond their control; social Darwinism and other theories help to explain their fates to the reader” (Campbell). The author’s poem, “Richard Cory” demonstrates the hardships brought by social expectations by observing a man named Richard Cory who “ was rich—yes, richer than a king— / And admirably schooled in every grace: / In fine, we thought that he was everything / To make us wish that we were in his place,” but at the end of the story, “Richard Cory, one calm summer night, / Went home and put a bullet through his head” (Robinson 15-16). The social expectation suggests Richard has a lavish and fulfilling lifestyle that anyone would idolize, but the townspeople never knew the real turbulence Richard faced internally. Societal expectations deceive the townspeople into believing in “the idealization of wealth;” however, this is clearly not reality since Richard commits suicide to alleviate his struggles. Another example of societal concern comes from Wharton’s Ethan Frome. When describing Ethan the narrator remarks that “he was a poor man, the husband of a sickly woman, whom his desertion would leave alone and destitute; and even if he

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