The Awakening Conflict Essay

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Edna Pontillier in Kate Chopin’s novella The Awakening seeks independence and freedom via an unconventional lifestyle that creates her internal conflict. The conflict is sparked by the Apollonian and Dionysian ways of life that surround Edna. The two contrasting forces influence her decisions and the way she interacts with others. Edna’s Dionysian and Apollonian influences effect the way that she treats her children, interacts with her husband, and relates to other women in her town. The freedom from responsibility and rules is attractive to Edna; however, it is a challenge to escape the rigid order of the Apollonian lifestyle. Edna’s struggle exemplifies the challenge facing all women of the nineteen-hundreds who strived to go against…show more content…
Edna’s marriage to Leonce “was purely an accident, in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of Fate. It was in the midst of her secret great passion that she met him. He fell in love, as men are in the habit of doing, and pressed his suit with an earnestness and ardor which left nothing to be desired” (Chopin 18). As Edna’s awakening develops, she begins to act out of character, driven by her inward desires. She starts spending more and more time with Robert, and while Leonce is aware, he pays no attention to the affair. Edna lives in a very male dominated society. Any orders given by the husband wouldn’t dare to be challenged by the wife. Edna has given Leonce that same sort of respect until “her will had blazed up, stubborn and resistant” (Chopin 31). She reaches a point where her influences are pulling her to resist Leonce and follow her own inhibition. Edna’s emotions stir in response to Leonce and she “wondered if her husband had ever spoken to her like that before, and if she had submitted to his command” (Chopin 31). Edna begins to become more aware of her position in her relationship with her husband. She is now comprehending the feelings she associates with the Apollonian and Dionysian influences in her
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