Struggle In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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In nearly every person's life, there is an ongoing struggle between the satisfaction of fulfilling one's requirements set by society and the burning desire to live a life independent of restrictions, obstacles, and confinements. While many claim for this to be a temporary struggle, one that is attached to a specific stage of life, specifically adolescence, that is not the case. This internal struggle is one that begins in the early stages of childhood and can extend into adulthood. However, for some, especially in more restrictive societies, this struggle may not even commence until adulthood. In The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, many argue that Mrs. Pontellier's suicide is symbolic of her urge to break free of societal norms and her failure to…show more content…
Pontellier's carelessness for her husband's desires shows her desire for independence. Otter argue that this lack of care portrays her as one who wishes to defy society. After leaving the house when she is supposed to be hosting a weekly Tuesday open- house, Edna asks, "Why are you taking the thing so seriously and making such such a fuss over it" (86). In Creole society, a wife talking back to her husband, especially after ignoring his wishes, is a clear sign of defiance. Therefore, it seems clear that Mrs. Pontellier is defy society by defying her husband. On the other hand, it is quite possible that she is simply asking this question out of curiosity. She does not specifically wish to defy society, instead, she just wants to do what she wants and cannot understand why barriers stand between her and that dream. After discovering that her husband does not listen to his wishes, Mr. Pontellier furiously questions his wife, questioning her motive. To that, Mrs. Pontellier comments, "Nothing. I simply felt like going out, and I went out" (85). It is evident that Mrs. Pontellier has no malicious intent in these actions, instead, she simply does as she wants. Mrs. Pontellier, at this point in her awakening, does not wishes to defy society, she simply is trying live live a life without the constraints of Creole society, regardless of the consequences, just as a child. Mrs. Pontellier's lack of consideration for her husband' wishes prove her desire…show more content…
Pontellier's thoughts before suicide prove she is in pursuit of freedom, not to specifically break societal norms. There is reason to say that these final thoughts prove that she wishes to defy society, and her suicide is symbolic to do so. Chopin describes Mrs. Pontellier as, "...for the first time in her life [Mrs. Pontellier] stood naked in the open air..." (189). Mrs. Pontellier is attempting, one final time, to break society's rule by not conforming to the standard rules prohibiting public nudity. Conversely, this can be interpreted as a sign of independence; she is preparing herself for her ultimate freedom. Actually, Chopin speaks about how, "[Mrs. Pontellier] heard the barking of the old dog that was chained to the sycamore tree" (190). As the final moments of her life pass her by, Mrs. Pontellier remembers her imprisonment in life. To her, she is chained as a dog her entire life, now, she remembers that past in anticipation of her long awaited future. Mrs. Pontellier's final feelings portray her urge to achieve ultimate freedom, not her failure to defy society. Thus, Chopin is showing how women can never be free in this life, only in

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