Kate Chopin's Feminist Bias In The Awakening

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Kate Chopin’s feminist bias is clearly portrayed in chapter one of her novel, The Awakening. As a woman, she is caged by her society to be a certain way, but she writes the novel to establish her power as a woman and to prove that the societal norms need to change. The first interaction between husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Pontellier, establishes that their marriage is toxic. While Mr. Pontellier smokes his cigar, his wife and Robert Lebrun are walking by the beach towards the cottage, and his immediate reaction is to comment on her sunburn. As a reader, this type of reaction causes animosity towards Mr. Pontellier because he sees his wife as a “piece of property” (2) and also shocking that their relationship lacks emotion and affection.…show more content…
The societal status of women during this era placed women’s destiny to marriage and motherhood. While it was considered a norm at that time, in the society I live in today, women are encouraged to be independent and enter the careers that were previously restricted from them. Mr. Pontellier was also hypocritical when he said “What folly! To bathe at such an hour in such heat!” (2), when “he himself had taken a plunge at daylight” (2). Kate Chopin meant that scene to reflect how men thought that women's actions that weren't within the norm were irrational, even though he could do the same action and nobody would question his sanity. His hypocrisy was another demonstration of the treatment of women at this time in history. Personally, I felt sympathy for Edma Pontellier because was married to such a sexist and hypocritical man, but with consideration to the time period it can be understood why Kate Chopin would write such a radical novel. In my opinion, the purpose of this scene, and novel as a whole, was not meant for future generation to look back and criticize the society but rather a plead for change within her
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