Sexism In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, is a controversial novel due to the suicide of the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, as well as the lofty concepts and ideologies that the book conveys. Throughout the novel there are multiple indicators including themes, symbols, and contextualization that provide evidence that Edna made an impartial decision and intentionally committed suicide, knowing that she would do so before she even entered the water. Critics have wrestled with this concept, as well as counter arguments that imply that Edna’s suicide was unforeseen, and developed in-depth analysis’ that support and sometimes oppose the idea that Edna Pontellier deliberately entered the water knowing that she would kill herself.
Multiple themes are present throughout
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During the late 1800’s the United States, specifically the south, was rapidly changing. Social movements were erupting throughout the south and the previously conservative area was becoming more and more liberal. The feminist movement was developing and it is reflected in Kate Chopin’s novel. Edna represented the individuality and power that the feminist movement promotes and strives for. However the change, women were still oppressed and had very few rights, they had yet to even have the right to vote and take part in the government. This patriarchal domination was exactly what Edna resented about society. Edna had also come from Kentucky, as state that represented a culture much different than that of the Creole’s and Chopin points out this juxtaposition multiple times throughout the novel saying, “Mrs. Pontellier, though she had married a Creole, was not thoroughly at home in the society of Creoles” (Chopin 12) As she continued to search for independence and freedom from the constraints of her marriage, motherhood, and social expectations, she came to a loss. She soon realized that she could make a decision for herself and that was ultimately her decision to end her life, a decision that she felt would lead her to the independence and fulfillment that she so
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