In the 1800’s, the societal niche of married women was clearly defined: they were meant to devote every aspect of their lives to their husbands and children. Edna Pontellier, the protagonist in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, struggles to adhere to these standards, and eventually rebels against them. The harsh standards placed on Edna and other women in the novel are like the cages around the metaphorical birds Chopin uses to represent them. Edna's unhappiness in her societal role is realized in the ocean, which symbolizes this awakening and her attempt to escape the gender roles of the nineteenth century.
The Sea Inside The ocean serves as a powerful source of inspiration for many; it is often shrouded in myth, mystery, and romanticism, as illustrated by the multitude of poems, literature, and art that focus on it. In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, the sea serves as a symbol of multiple elements of Edna’s journey as it represents both inward reflection and contemplation, as well as the frightening dangers and liberating rebirth that come with the absolute and expansive freedom that Edna so desperately seeks. Edna spends much of her adult life surrounded by the responsibilities of her demanding domestic and social life, without much time to turn inward or be alone; thus, the expansive abyss of the sea offers her a tempting chance for contemplation and solitude. As Edna spends time along the water at Grand Isle, it invites her to explore “the mazes of inward contemplation”, leading her to reflect on “her position in the universe as a human being” (57).
It is common for people in everyday society to conform to society’s expectations while also questioning their true desires. In the novel, The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, the main protagonist Edna Pontellier is said to possess, "That outward existence which conforms, the inward life that questions." In other words, Edna outwardly conforms while questioning inwardly. Kate Chopin, uses this tension between outward conformity and inward questioning to build the meaning of the novel by examining Edna’s role as a wife, mother, and as nontraditional woman in the traditional Victorian period. Edna outwardly conforms to society’s expectations by marriage.
The American science fiction and fantasy author Richard Grant once said that “the value of identity of course is that so often with it comes purpose.” In both The Awakening by Kate Chopin and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the main protagonists search for their identities through the context of their daily lives. In correlation with the preceding quotation, in The Awakening, after a vacation opens her eyes to all that she has been missing in her life, she becomes desperate to find herself outside of the mother-woman while in The Handmaid’s Tale, the narrator must decide which parts of her identity she wants to hold on to and who she is in the trying times of the Gileadean society. The two novels demonstrate the journey of these women
Vladimír Nepraš (UČO: 13571) Mgr. Robert Švábenský Twentieth-Century US literature 20th October 2015 Instinct Versus Conventionality If Edna Pontellier met Daisy Miller they would probably understand each other.
Prevalent concept in the novel is the concept of the “mother-woman”, which is something Edna Pontellier deeply struggles with. “I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself. I can't make it more clear; it's only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me” (chapter 16). A woman may fulfil other roles than those of a mother or a wife. Therefore, the novel tackles the issue of the sense of self, inner and outer.
“She had all her life long been accustomed to harbor thoughts and emotions which never voiced themselves,”- Kate Chopin. Edna goes through life not completely fitting in and finally is able to break free. With breaking free Edna discovers the various qualities in a man that she wants but finds only certain qualities in certain men. The three main men in “Awakening” have the qualities she wants but in the end, cannot have. These three men are Leonce Pontellier, the husband, Robert Lebrun, the emotional need, and Alcee Arobin, the physical need,
Awakening is a novel written by Kate Chopin in 1899. As in many of Chopin’s writing, this novel concerns itself with morality and identity. The restrictions and expectations imposed on the protagonist, Edna Pontellier in the Awakening are based on gender and societal norms in the nineteenth century. In the Victorian Era, society deemed that the role of the woman was purely to be a wife and mother, but Edna had other ambitions, which included sexual freedom.
In The Awakening, Chopin uses other characters to display Edna Pontellier’s desires and social limitations to shape her new outlook on life. Mademoiselle Reisz and Madame Ratignolle play different roles in Edna’s development throughout the novel by influencing her to become a new woman in society. Mademoiselle Reisz is the most influential character toward Edna because she represents freedom and independence. She lives an unmarried, childless life dedicated to music such as the piano.
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.
Syeda Ahmed prompt 5 The Awakening AP LIT Mr. Amoroso A modern woman emerging and developing ahead of her time, dealing with the challenges of gaining independence in a time period where woman weren’t human. This is Edna Pontellier’s conflict told in the novel the Awakening by Kate Chopin. Late in her already establish life Edna a wife and mother of two discovers herself to realize she goes against society’s ideals as a woman.
Freedom - "A feeling of exultation overtook her, as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before." "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.