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 novel, Edna often feels like her marriage was a misfortune. For example, Edna believes, …show more content…
Women during Edna’s time were supposed to be dedicated to their husbands and children, however, Edna yearned for her own independence, and as a result of wanting her own independence Edna knew that she was seen as a terrible person. For instance Edna wanted to “…try to determine what character of a woman I am; for, candidly, I don't know. By all the codes which I am acquainted with, I am a devilishly wicked specimen of the sex. But some way I can't convince myself that I am. I must think about it" (27.4). Edna fully understands that society would brand her as a terrible woman, but she does not view herself as a bad person. There is an external and internal difference that Edna hopes to one day reconcile. Chopin, instead of creating tension within Edna, created tension within the society and Edna with her newfound independence does not mind how society classifies her. Decisively, it can be concluded that the tension between outward conformity and inward questioning builds the meaning of the novel by examining Edna’s role as a wife, mother, and as nontraditional woman in the traditional Victorian period. By Edna conforming to society’s expectations, she was able to question what she truly desired. If Edna did not conform, then Edna would have not understood that she longed for independence and the novel would have no solidified
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In the novel, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna is forced to face two different obligations in life, one to follow her passions and be an individual, and the other to be practical and follow the dictations of society. Through Edna’s struggle of passion versus practicality, it becomes clear that being an individual is better than conforming to society. It is better to be an outlier. Edna’s passions often get in the way of her duties in society, causing
Another side of her inner self showing was when she was refusing to get out of the hammock “With a writhing motion she settled herself more securely in the hammock. She perceived that her will had blazed up,” (Chopin 31). This expresses her attitude against her husband in which she does not care if she disobeys him. In conclusion, Edna has two very distinct personalities when it comes with what is on the outside and the inside of
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.
Every situation has it own point of view. In the novel, Edna attempted to convinved herself that whateer dishonesty she was doing was not wrong. She seems to be drowning herself in her own issues. throughout the novel, she commits moral crimes such as maintaining a false marriage.
In the Awakening, Kate Chopin takes the readers on a journey surveying the gender norms of a small town in St. Louis. Each gender in this subculture seems to take certain roles in daily life. Females are destined to perform housewife duties and to nurture the children, while the males are more involved with the worldly business situations. Edna Pontellier, the female protagonist, is portrayed as a woman who seems to rebel against the norms expected from her. While most women from her era view their duties as satisfying and fulfilling, Edna finds herself interacting with her children perfunctorily, with no inner joy.
Discovering her emotions and recognizing the repression in which women endure all their life, Edna makes the decision to be a free human being with ownership to no one. Edna boldly declares to Robert that she is “no longer one of Mr. Pontellier’s possessions to dispose of or not” (146), expressing her choice to be an influential person rather than simply a prize of Mr. Pontelliers. With the importance of materialistic images in the Creole society, Edna choosing to be a person rather than a possession that Leonce bought and paid for is viewed as an action deemed unwomanly and inappropriate. While throughout the novel Edna commits actions that relay the theme of independence, Chapter 36 is the first time when Edna affirms that she believes herself to be a single woman. Edna chooses to throw away her husband, children, and every material item she has in return for her own independence and voice in the world.
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.
The Reality of Edna’s Awakening Kate Chopin’s The Awakening was a dramatic novella that was based on society and how Edna was treated, love and independence of finding her true self. The author inputs the theme in a numerous amount of literary devices that include round character, irony and a metaphor to exaggerate the theme. This shows how Edna has two sides to herself; the one that tries to fit into society and another side that the public can see as a swell mother.
Edna even says herself, “I would give up the unessential…my money…my life for my children, but not myself.” For her life, Edna realized that means her marriage and physical life. As far as her marriage, Edna was never truly happy with her marriage with Leonce. Furthermore, Edna states she truly cares for her children, but sometimes her search for herself may conflict with this. This then further discourages readers even more due to the fact that this gives insight to her actions, and somewhat justifies them.
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.
To be a good wife in Edna’s society meant being a ”mother-woman“. James describes these women as ”...women who idolized their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels. “ (Chopin, chapter 4) Typical example is Adele Ratignolle, Edna's best friend, who devotes herself solely to her husband and children seeking nothing for herself. Edna starts to be dissatisfied with this and begins awakening from her semi-conscious state of a devoted wife and a mother and breaking free from her limited, conservative lifestyle. She begins to see the world around her with a fresh perspective and discovers her own identity.
The focus of Chopin 's The Awakening is Edna 's conflict between her expected roles in society and her wants and desires. In this book Edna endeavors for self fulfillment, becomes seemingly impertinent, and ultimately feels cornered by the society in which she lives. Edna 's individualistic wants at first seem healthy, but quickly become out of hand as her thoughts become more chaotic. In her awakening, Edna is consumed by selfish desire. The aftermath of this desire leads her to feel as if she has been entrapped by society, ultimately leading to her destruction.
This socially constructed identity is the first of the many that Edna grapples with in the text. It is the identity of women within the time period of the text. In the words of Dix, Edna’s identity is meant to be that of a typical American wife who will control the home, children and entertain socially yet remain obedient to her working husband (146). ‘Looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property’ (Chopin 4). The