Room In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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This analysis of The Awakening by Kate Chopin (1899) will use the psychoanalytic image of the mother as a starting point for Edna’s journey of self-realization which is symbolized in physical “Rooms.” As Edna travels to and from the Island and the different “Rooms” she uncovers and develops her personality but ultimately the journey leads to demise. Her demise is because her rooms are tied to her mother, and she is never able to succeed in her Room as Woolf would have wanted because it is tied to the mother, and not the patriarchal father who represents money and creative power. The symbolism of the mother as a Room parallels the concept of a room in A Room of One’s Own (1929) by Virginia Woolf. The physical and metaphorical “Room” in Edna’s…show more content…
Each of the rooms she enters hold meaning for her and she is able to unravel some elements which allow her to pursue her unconscious mind and to delve further into her desires. In the journal article: “The Denotation of Room and its Impact on the Construction of Female Identity in Kate Chopin 's The Awakening”, author Sara Tewelde-Negassi explores the theme of the room as a physical place. Edna primarily enters the cottages of Madame Lebrun at Grand Isle at the very beginning of the novel, where she vacations and this is highly significant especially for the progress of achieving self-awareness, since the cottages on the island are able to offer Edna partial liberation from her family because she is not only surrounded by her own family but also by the Creole women (Special Issue, 2016). In particular, she makes the acquaintance of Adèle Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reiz, whose “passion” and “candor” leave a conflicting impression on her (Special Issue, 2016). Edna’s mantle of reserve “loosens” and the subtle influences that allowed her to do this included Adèle Ratignolle: “The excessive physical charm of the Creole had first attracted her, for Edna had a sensuous susceptibility to beauty. Then the candor of the woman 's whole existence, which every one might read, and which formed so striking a contrast” (Chopin, p.…show more content…
As a result of this conflict, she seeks to find a house around the block which is a decision she rushes into and this is a physical room which can be interpreted as her independent room. This is the one Woolf would have seen as inspiring to Edna because she now has money and creativity. I believe that Edna’s quest to find the room was successful and her driver, the loving mother, was able to get her into the space and place where she could express herself and her sensuality. Since it is small, and looks like a room, this final house serves as a room of her own where she can pursue freedom in manifold ways. Edna is successful to find her own room but ultimately, the room she has found is potentially the cause of her demise because she is unable to use the room for true freedom. In terms of Woolf’s success, she has succeeded by finding her room, but because it is tied to her quest for her “motherly” love, she cannot reconcile the freedom of her room in her life. Instead of achieving the power and creative success that Woolf wanted, Edna has caged herself into her room and is unable to want to escape it and ultimately ends her
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