Internal Conflict In The Awakening By Laurence Sterne

1350 Words6 Pages
Grace Burt
Mrs. Schroder
AP Literature
3 January 2018
The Awakening Prompt #6
Laurence Sterne once wrote, "Nobody, but he who has felt it, can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have a man 's mind torn asunder by two projects of equal strength, both obstinately pulling in a contrary direction at the same time." This quote summarizes one of the main themes of the book, The Awakening. Edna Pontellier, a young woman in an unsatisfying marriage, is often found to be torn between two opposing paths she could take. Her main internal conflict is one of if she should cave and become the perfect housewife, take care of the kids, cook, clean, look good, or, if she should leave all of that behind and be her own independent woman of substance and
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Those are Mademoiselle Reisz and Adele Ratignolle. Adele is one of Edna’s friends. Adele is the perfect example of a perfect housewife. She has children, cooks, cleans, sews, and looks beautiful all the time. She encourages Edna to sew and “be a good mother”. The difference between Adele and Edna however, is that Adele and her husband have a good relationship, while Edna and her husband have a bad and toxic relationship. Mademoiselle Reisz, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of Adele. Mademoiselle Reisz is a talented and independent woman. She plays the piano beautifully. While she is not the most beautiful lady in the world, according to society’s standards, she is extremely talented and independent. She is inspiring to Edna. Mademoiselle Reisz makes Edna cry with her beautiful music. She encourages Edna to pursue her career in art. These two women in Edna’s life constantly pull her in two different directions. Edna becomes even more conflicted because she does not know who to listen to. She eventually is so inspired by Mademoiselle Reisz’s independence and attitude, that she moves out of the house that she lived in with Lonce and decides to live on her own. One of Edna’s biggest internal conflicts is resolved because of Mademoiselle Reisz. This contributes to the theme of breaking social norms, because no woman would ever leave her husband and comfortable life to pursue a career during this time period. It was unheard of. If Edna chose the path that Adele was taking, she would be conforming to society’s standards, which shows that she made the right decision by not conforming and showing the reader that it is ok to not be like everyone else, and also show women that they can be independent and that they need to fight the social discrimination against their

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