Edna went to go swimming, but she had suicide in mind rather that swimming. As she was walking towards the beach she thought to herself, “The Children appeared before her like antagonists who had overcome her; who had overpowered and sought to drag her into the soul’s slavery for the rest of her days. But she knew a way to elude them.” (Chopin 159). In order for Edna to defeat the societal norms and not be bound in chains from her husband and traditional womanhood; Edna had to leave her motherly role in the family and she stubbornly went against the expectations of her husband and society.
Right before Edna goes to kill herself, she had many thoughts about people who have meant a lot to her in her past life. She thinks this about her children: Edna declares her children to be a representation of her own “slavery” of being a mother. Edna uses the word “antagonists” to describe the images of her children in her head. She believes that her kids are a wall standing between the standards of being a mother, which Edna is trying to escape, and her becoming an individual woman. She then uses the verbs “overcome” and “overpowered” to describe the action of what her children have done to her.
Adele is a “mother-woman” entirely, concentrates on domesticity, cares and praises her husband and child, and interested in everything related to her family, any individual ideality is not a public intention. Once a time, Adele is playing the piano in front of the guests who came to her party. Edna just realized that what Adele plays cannot touch her deeply, but just a performance without soul, in order to her children and seems as the ability that a housewife should possess, to please the guests and show the cleaver and wise. In the deep of Edna, to being a full-time home worker is not her will and not the individual ideals she seeking for. When Edna and Adele with their families went to Grand Isle, sometimes, Edna will put herself into their children completely or forget them.
Without a platform for agency, the idea of self-actualization can crumble upon itself. One of the most explicit pieces to make a statement on the agency of women in the 19th century south is The Awakening by Kate Chopin. The title itself can be interpreted, to be literally a reference to the unbridling of Edna Pontellier’s learned position in life in favor for a truer sense of self-actualization. Of course, being as it is 19th century Louisiana, this re-education of Edna ends in tragedy. Edna Pontellier, as a white woman in the leisure class, was assigned at birth her role in the Southern economy; that of a vessel for which her husbands kin would spring out of.
Edna sets personhood limits on how much she would give up for her children through a recalled conversation with Adele where Edna spoke her views on motherhood: “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” (47). Her statement is revealing because Edna goes against what society says a woman is supposed to feel towards her children. She would give up superficial things like money, or a even a vital thing - her life - for her children. However, Edna states her unwillingness to become a ministering angel where to reach divine status she would have to erase her personhood, who she is as an individual. Edna will not give up her self for anything.
Never truly attempting to fit into the “woman” role Edna finds herself stepping out of her cage through self-discovery. Author Kate Chopin creates and utilizes symbols and motifs to develop the multiple cognizances Edna undergoes. Edna deals with the repercussions of a society that isn’t as accustoms to a woman being
At first it might seem Edna does not care about her children, but in reality, Edna cares about her children, even if she has to sacrifice her life. But she won’t give up herself as a person. Mr. Pontellier was angry at his wife for not doing what she is suppose to do as a wife. Edna said the her husband, “I feel like painting….Perhaps I shan’t always feel like it”(108).
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.
In Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening” shows a controversial protagonist, Edna Pontellier. The character in the novel showed different expectations for women and their supposed roles. One literary critic, Megan Kaplon showed how this novel can be viewed as a struggle of the world or society around her. Edna in the story is trying to find freedom and individuality Kaplon mentions that “one of her most shocking actions was her denial of her role as a mother and wife.”
For those who are not as fortunate to escape with their sense of self intact, they often do lose their souls and become mere property whose only purpose in life is to take care of the children they never wanted to have. Kate Chopin demonstrates how unfair it is that so many women do not have a choice in their own lives. While men can escape parenthood as Mr. Pontellier has done when he leaves to go to a club with his friends, women are forced to take care of their children because it is impossible for them to be seen as respectable without adhering to what society deems is proper. The lack of freedom drives many women like Edna to take their own
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.
A woman with an independent nature can be described as rebellious, passionate, and courageous. In Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, the reader is introduced to Edna Pontellier, a female who epitomizes the qualities of a woman with such an independent nature. Living in a “patriarchal society” that expects women to be nothing more than devoted wives and nurturing mothers, Edna attempts to seek out her true identity as it becomes apparent how unsettled she feels about her life. Throughout The Awakening, Edna Pontellier, dissatisfied with her duties as a mother and wife, decides to pursue her own interests and express her true identity, resulting in an awakening and her finding the courage to make the changes she deems as necessary. Edna Pontellier had two young boys, Etienne and Raoul, who were ages four and five, respectively.
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.
Edna is struggling to choose a identity between a mother, wife, lover etc. She seems to not want to be subject as the possession of anybody. She focuses on independence even denying Robert of her love towards him which if she chose to stay with him, she would be associated with him and therefore labeled. She looks up to Madame Reisz as an independent woman, pursuing her passions and doing as she pleases. "I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn 't give
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