Social Norms In The Awakening

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In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, we follow the journey of Edna Pontellier, a woman who struggles to find peace. The upper-middle-class wife to Leonce Pontellier and mother of two children face many challenges on her journey of self-discovery. She has two affairs, yet she can’t seem to find what brings her true happiness. She searches for a role model to help her figure out what to do. In The Awakening, the women Enda Pontellier interacts with are representations of how she is conflicted between following social norms and being free. Through this, Chopin argues the two perspectives that Edna chooses to take with her life, especially in terms of motherhood and love. Being introduced to these women gives us an insight into the perception others have of Edna. However, Edna is neither and chooses herself. This means others will constantly have different opinions on your life. You decide to choose what you …show more content…

Although she seems to enjoy the freedom and knows Edna wants to take that path, she warns her of the dangers that come with it. She tells Edna how artistry takes courage and cautions her about fighting social norms. She warns Edna, “‘The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth’” (Chopin 83). Birds are used as a symbol of freedom and Mademoiselle Reisz is trying to warn Edna of the risks that come with it. She must be prepared to be strong as she fights against the misogynistic ideas that she is being forced to uphold. She doesn’t want to attempt a goal that she won’t be able to achieve. Reisz says that Edna doesn’t dare to be an artist. To be someone who revolts and disregards her responsibilities, she must be more robust. Edna disagrees and is willing to be persistent to be capable, but changes her

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