The Awakening In The 1850's

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The role of a woman in society has always fit into a perfect box. Women were expected to be the dutiful wife, loving mother and housekeeper for her family. Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique, in 1963 hoping to unveil the truth behind women’s thoughts about their role in society. Friedan exposed that things were not always, as they seemed for the average mother and homemaker in the 1950s and 1960s. Kate Chopin wrote The Awakening in the 1850’s which told the story of Edna Pontillier and her struggles as a housewife and finding her true identity. These two literary works captured how women really felt about their everyday lives. They displayed that women were often unhappy and felt unfulfilled regardless that they were living the lifestyle…show more content…
While she took pleasure in raising her children, caring for her home, and loving her spouse, there was something missing. She found that women had, “a sense of dissatisfaction” (Friedan 57) with the tasks of everyday life. The main character Edna in The Awakening by Kate Chopin displays similar dissatisfaction regardless of the love she has for her husband and children. She finds herself crying for no reason during the story. Edna explains, “Such experiences as the foregoing were not uncommon in her married life.” (Chopin 18) This scene shows how Edna feels inner turmoil towards her marriage, but she is unsure of what is causing her feelings. Both Friedan and Chopin illustrate how having the perfect life on the outside did not truly show what women were feeling…show more content…
Women were taught that the greatest success was gaining a husband and bearing children. Eventually, running a household and raising children would provide the ultimate trophy of life. However, after women succeeded in this, they still felt unworthy or they would say, “I feel as if I don’t exist.” (Friedan 64) Edna also struggles with the realization that her life has not given her the fulfillment that she expected. Her role as a wife and mother leaves her feeling invisible and desiring something more. In Chapter 25 of The Awakening, we see Edna thinking “It was not despair, but it seemed to her as if life were passing by, leaving its promises broken and unfulfilled. Yet there were other days when she listened, was led on and deceived by fresh promises which her youth had held out to her.” (Chopin 103) The common theme of women feeling insignificant regardless of having it all can be seen in both the Feminine Mystique and the
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