Robert is one of many who shares this view, but to educate him Edna says, “‘You have been a very, very foolish boy, wasting your time dreaming of impossible things when you speak of Mr. Pontellier setting me free! I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier's possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose.’” (178 ). Edna enlightens Robert with they fact that it’s going to be her who is going to give herself up to him and not Leonce. She states that she isn’t Leonce’s property with goes against the Louisiana law at the time.
The ocean reflects Edna’s process of “awakening” and her increasing urge and attempt to break free from these social conventions as she finally begins to understand her individuality. Edna refuses to fulfill her wifely and motherly duties, she becomes aware of her sexuality as she has has multiple partners, and even moves out of her “house on Esplanade Street” in an attempt to be financially independent (131). All these acts, serve as attempts to escape from the eternal role as a mother and housewife. Freedom, for Edna, is the act of disengaging from obligations towards her husband and children, and the release from social order. In a sense, Edna’s death is due to her failure to balance a sense of self and freedom with the demands of life.
Sources of Edna’s suicide It is unarguable that during the 19th century women were restricted from freedom and having a mind of their own. Women were always expected to live according to society’s rules. An author, who some may consider a feminist, named Kate Chopin wrote a novel titled The awakening that capture the struggle of women and expectations put on them by society. The novel features a married woman named Edna who is in search of selfhood, independence, empowerment, and freedom but would soon realize that self-happiness would not come easy when you depend on others and your expectations of life. Kate Chopin chose an ambiguous ending for her novel which was Edna committing suicide lead many to create theories as to why she committed
Chopin first portrays Madame Pontellier through her want for individuality by making her own choices. Edna then decides to show her idea of a strong woman by going against her domestic chores and perusing art. Lastly, Edna is portrayed as a woman who wants equality through her choices to express her sexual desires. One of Kate Chopin’s characters, Edna is portrayed as a feminist throughout the story. All through the story, Chopin presents Edna as an aspiring independent Victorian woman who goes against this eras concept of a wife, mother, and woman.
Once her husband passes away, Janie views Jody's death as emancipation from the dominance he had established over her. She took advantage on her newly gained freedom and acted as such by letting down her hair, something Jody forbid due to its sexual undertone considering the other males in town. Also, she rebels against his wish to be called Jody by referring to him as Joe, symbolizing Janie no longer being under Jody's control. Janie tells Phoeby that she feels that widows do not need to mourn for such a long time, suggests that she believes women do not need to stay tied down to a man but rather should continue to find joy and pleasure in their lives even after loss. Although Janie is criticized by her society, she is seen as a pioneer of feminine freedom in a patriarchy dominant world.
This is interpreting the inner rebell of Edna in how she is not afraid to leave her family behind. Another side of her inner self showing was when she was refusing to get out of the hammock “With a writhing motion she settled herself more securely in the hammock. She perceived that her will had blazed up,” (Chopin 31). This expresses her attitude against her husband in which she does not care if she disobeys him. In conclusion, Edna has two very distinct personalities when it comes with what is on the outside and the inside of
Christina Williams makes an insightful argument that the role of identity overlays the feminist themes of the novel. Williams begins by arguing that Edna never lets herself break free of a man’s influence, nor does she ever let the idea of love go. While Edna’s motivation is in part due to her wish to follow her artistic passion, the concern that eventually leads to her death is of Robert, her lover. Edna begins and ends the novel in the same passive nature that she begins the novel; thus, it would make an unsuccessful feminist work. Williams states that Edna’s awakening is in large part due to natural causes, listing her connection to the sea as an example.
She has no one to lean on for financial support and is forced to become part of the working class. At first Lily embraces it because independence is something she has been searching for throughout the novel. There is even an instance when Rosedale offers to help her, claiming: “ ‘I’d set you up over them all-I’d put you where you could wipe your feet on e’m’ ” (Wharton, 300). Rosedale offers Lily the ultimate social standing upgrade. She has the ability to live the way she has always wanted to, yet Lily turns down the offer.
In conclusion, the novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God” presents the theme of love and that being in a relationship hinders independence but in an unique way. Hurston uses symbolism like Janie’s head rag which stifled her independence and when burned, made her feel free. She also uses the motif of communities, which are ever present throughout the book, using specific examples such as when Janie isn't allowed to go to the funeral, which hinders her independence because she isn't making choices for herself and isn't doing
I give myself where I choose. If he were to say, ‘ Here Robert, take her and be happy, she is yours’, I would at you both” ( Chopin 108 ) . Edna questions the submissive nature of females in society by not wanting to be similar to those females. She does not want to be like a robot who only does what her husband wants her to do. In the quote above, Edna basically declares that she is not just some object that her husband can do whatever he pleases with.