Homosexuality In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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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…show more content…
Streater argues that Edna cannot completely bond with Adele because the loss of her mother at a young age has left her with a “psychological void” (411). However, Edna’s confidence in Adele suggests otherwise. Edna opens up to Adele. She tells her about things that bother her, past crushes, and the reasons for her marriage. Likewise, Adele inspires Edna’s transgressions and encourages her to live unapologetically. A woman incapable of forming a lasting bond with another person—man or woman—typically would not so willingly share the thoughts and emotions they have kept secret for so…show more content…
Edna’s friendship with Mlle. Reisz causes her to think about her social situation and artistic abilities rather than her role as wife and mother. Mlle. Reisz, a lonely middle-aged woman, has chosen a life without a husband and children. Like Edna, she struggles with her own individuality and artistic ability. Nonetheless she attempts to guide Edna and encourage her to develop as an artist. Edna’s curiosity entices her to learn more about how and why Mlle. Reisz lives the way she does. Noticing Edna has told her nothing of herself, Mlle. Reisz asks to know her intentions. When Edna replies that she is becoming an artist, Mlle. Reisz responds: “To be an artist includes much; one must possess many gifts—absolute gifts—which have not been acquired by one’s own effort. And, moreover, to succeed, the artist must possess the courageous soul” (Chopin 60). Mlle. Reisz recognizes that Edna possesses a great deal of courage and pretention and feeds it in hopes that Edna will do something for herself rather than for her family or
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