Prevalent concept in the novel is the concept of the “mother-woman”, which is something Edna Pontellier deeply struggles with. “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. I can't make it more clear; it's only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me” (chapter 16). A woman may fulfil other roles than those of a mother or a wife. Therefore, the novel tackles the issue of the sense of self, inner and outer.
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 a novel or play, a confidant or confidante is a character whose role is to be present when the hero or heroine needs a listener to confide in. However, the confidant offers much more than emotional support for the protagonist. The most important purpose of any confidant is to reveal the true nature of the protagonist to the reader. In “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning this is accomplished by a formal relationship between the protagonist and confidant, which reveals the main character truthfully from an objective point of view. Quite differently, in The Awakening by Kate Chopin the protagonist and confidante have an intimate relationship, which reveals the main character through her innermost thoughts and desires.
In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Edna removes herself from Leonce by purchasing her own house in order to gain independence. This incident shows the idea of not meeting social expectations. Edna, Robert and, Reisz break away from society to become independent and self-sufficient which helps guide them chose their own roles in society. They do not allow society to define them, but go on a journey to discover themselves.
Many individuals believe that we live in a perfect environment, without all of the violence or prejudice. The feminist group rejects that idea since the views of women in society is the man’s tool. To fight back this ideal, the people write stories with female protagonists who challenge the social norms, one example being Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. The novella gives life to the motherly Adele Ratignolle, the unconventional Reisz, and the stubborn protagonist Edna Pontellier. Mrs. Pontellier is a rebellious woman trapped in a strict culture who finds freedom during her vacation in Grand Isle.
In chapters 21-26 of The Awakening by Kate Chopin Edna Pontellier begins a new relationship with another player of the town. She soon realizes that she is truly in love with Robert and decides to move out of her house. This would allow her to finally be free from her husband, and she would not need his money or support to live her life. Enda becomes extremely close to Mademoiselle Reisz, because in many ways they are similar. Mademoiselle Reisz is an independent woman which is what Edna is longing for.
What would your instinct be between a high moral desire and responsibility during the Victorian Era? During the 19th century there seemed to be a “woman code of conduct” per se. All woman were to sacrifice their desires in order to attend more attention towards their children and responsibilities, although in this book Edna Pontellier went more towards her desires rather than face responsibility. In Kate Chopin’s book The Awakening the main character, Edna Pontellier, is having trouble figuring out what she truly wants.
In The Awakening, Chopin uses other characters to display Edna Pontellier’s desires and social limitations to shape her new outlook on life. Mademoiselle Reisz and Madame Ratignolle play different roles in Edna’s development throughout the novel by influencing her to become a new woman in society. Mademoiselle Reisz is the most influential character toward Edna because she represents freedom and independence. She lives an unmarried, childless life dedicated to music such as the piano.
The Peter Seyersted quote provided describes Kate Chopin 's novel The Awakening as many things, including “daring”, revolutionary, and groundbreaking. Whether or not these claims are accurate is mostly a matter of opinion, but by analyzing the passage provided from the novel, I will attempt to identify and explain my own reaction to the quotation, and how this section informs it. The passage begins: “Edna walked on down the beach... not noticing anything special except that the sun was hot. ”1
Social paradigms are a societal construct. Survival does not depend on our ability to conform. In the Victorian era, conformity was valued above all else, especially concerning gender roles. Women were seen as objects of marriage and motherhood, nothing more. However, literary critic Katherine Thompson in an essay describes the Victorian era as the “essential beginnings of gender equity changes” (Thompson).