In Kate Chopin’ s novel, The Awakening, there are three identities inside of the female leading role, Edna Pontellier, being a wife, mother and own self. Edna was born in 19th century at the Vitoria period, a patriarchy society, women have low freedom to achieve personal goal. She married with Léonce Pontellier, a wealthy man with Creole descent. After having a child, her life is still unchangeable and as bored as before. Until she encountered Robert Leburn, Mademoiselle Reisz, and Alcée Arobin, her value of self-cognition has changed.
Edna has “the best husband in the world,” to which she was “forced to admit that she knew of none better” (Chopin III). Edna has to choose between staying in her unhappy marriage with her husband for her children which she has grown accustomed to his absence over prolonged periods or leave him for her true love Robert and forget about her family because she can not have both. The physical journey of Edna Pontellier in The Awakening by Kate Chopin, is one of lasciviousness, self-determination to become independent, and one of tragedy that develops from the first display of oppression in beginning of the novel until the last gasp of freedom at the very end of the novel to captivate the reader in this world where women are socially exploited. The journey of physically leaving her husband for another man which was incredibly frowned upon by society in that time period and even in society today.
Edna’s illusions imply that she saw her children and her obligation to raise them as a burden. She believes they are in opposition to her true freedom and sees death as her only viable escape from them. Edna’s unwillingness to sacrifice her personal happiness exhibits her inability to nurture and provide for children of her
She was fond of her husband, but she did not worship him like the other wives did, and she took care of her family, but she didn’t believe she was the savior of her household or that it was her duty to do everything perfect for her husband and kids. Edna was slowly “beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being” (16) and that her purpose was different from that of all the other women in society. She had been taught her whole life to “harbor thoughts and emotions which never voiced themselves” (60) but she believed that those thoughts and emotions “belonged to her and were her own” (60) and “that she had a right to them” (60). With this in mind, Edna began taking charge and making changes in her life so that she could become more independent and take her actions into her own hands. Before Robert came home from Mexico, Edna found a short relationship with a man named Alcée Arobin, because she wanted to have the freedom to pursue feelings for a man when there was something between them, instead of submitting to her marriage that had no love.
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.
History is filled with tales of those who were willing to risk it all in order to be the change that the world needed. In the book, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier, realizes the sins that are imparted upon her by society and is willing to sacrifice everything about her past self in order to be break free of the chains that entangle her. Edna’s sacrifices include her comfortable lifestyle and esteemed reputation; however, to Edna these are small sacrifices that are needed in order to progress as an individual and expand into a new realm of independence. As she develops throughout the story, she starts to value a sense of independence and of equality more and more. However, the bonds placed on her by upper-class society's expectations mean that in order to achieve a position in life where she can embody her values, she must sacrifice her current culture and position.
Often times when a person is forced to outwardly conform while questioning themselves it leads to a struggle between their inner selves and what is expected of them. Outward conformity often oppresses a character’s true feelings of loneliness and being misunderstood. In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, leads a dissatisfactory life. She is stuck in a loveless marriage, and has children, all in an attempt to conform to the social norm of the Victorian woman. However, she inwardly questions whether or not she should try to break free from this life to find her own independence and happiness.
Mrs. Pontellier is woman who married her husband, not because of true love, but to become part of a society known as Creoles. She becomes tired of him and the rules she has to follow as a woman. The way she goes off to live independently and separates her life from that of her children’s symbolizes her independence. Her paintings and her love for art are also symbols for her desire to be independent. She believed women should be able to express themselves freely and not be bound to the limitations or expectations that society has set for them.
No multitude of words could have been more significant than these moments of silence , or more pregnant with the first felt throbbing of desire” (Pg. 30) the sexual impulses that had once died down first became awakened at this point of the novel. Edna Pontellier resurrected the optimistic view of lovemaking once more, but is usually never cognizant of the actions she commits. Ednas sexual awakening is split into two parts, emotionally and physically. Edna Pontelliers emotional sexual awakening is brought to life by the hands of Robert. When Robert leaves her the first time, she is upset, unable to believe he left so abruptly, and without saying goodbye.
Kate Chopin’s The Awakening was written at the end of the nineteenth century, where many roles for women began to change; therefore, the it appears to have been a turning point for females (“The Role of the Wife and Mother”). These changes in female roles were mostly due to the actions of women themselves, motivated by their desires to break away from the limits imposed on their gender The nineteenth century was a critical point in time for women, in regards to their roles in society (“The Role of the Wife and Mother”). In The Awakening, Edna goes through noteworthy changes in the course of the novel, which reconstructs her into a woman who goes against societal ideals regarding motherhood and marriage . In the 1890s, motherhood was viewed
Kate Chopin’s The Awakening is a piece of fiction written in the nineteenth century. The protagonist Edna is a controversial character, Edna rebels against many nineteenth - century traditions, but her close friend Adele was a perfect example in terms of a role of a woman, mother and wife at that time. Chopin uses contrast characters to highlight the difference between Adele and Edna. Although they are both married women in the nineteenth century, they also exhibit many different views about what a mother role should be.
family and from pursuing her own interests. Unhappy with her conditions, Edna rebels against them, however this results in her not being accepted in society. Thus, Edna deliberately sacrifices her freedom in a way which Edna’s value of free nonconformity. The sacrifice goes hand-in-hand with the meaning of the work as a whole that there is no place in society for those who do not conform to its expectations. A misogynistic and sexist time, the Victorian Era envisage and encloses women into a certain image that they are meant to be devoted, subordinate and more-or-less obsessed with their husband and family.
It is common for people in everyday society to conform to society’s expectations while also questioning their true desires. In the novel, The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, the main protagonist Edna Pontellier is said to possess, "That outward existence which conforms, the inward life that questions." In other words, Edna outwardly conforms while questioning inwardly. Kate Chopin, uses this tension between outward conformity and inward questioning to build the meaning of the novel by examining Edna’s role as a wife, mother, and as nontraditional woman in the traditional Victorian period. Edna outwardly conforms to society’s expectations by marriage.
In the late 1800s, nearly all women were viewed as subservient, inferior, second class females that lived their lives in a patriarchal and chauvinist society. Women often had no voice, identity, or independence during that time period. Moreover, women dealt with the horrors of social norms and the gender opposition of societal norms. The primary focus and obligation for a woman to obtain during the 1800s was to serve her husband and to obey to anything he said. Since women were not getting the equality, freedom, or independence that they desired, Kate Chopin, an independent-minded female American novelist of the late 1800s expressed the horrors, oppressions, sadness, and oppositions that women of that time period went through.
As described in "Ways of Reading", narrative content is “a collection of represented events, along with the participants in those events and the circumstances of those events.” (Ways of Reading 260) and narrative form is “the way in which those events are represented through a particular narrative medium” (Ways of Reading 260). In other words narrative content is the events that happen throughout a story and narrative form is the way we are shown these events throughout the story. There is often a tension between narrative content and narrative form. The difference between the narrative content and narrative form includes differences in narrative order, narrative pace and narrative coherence.