The Creole Life In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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The Awakening by Kate Chopin Setting Grand Isle and New Orleans, Louisiana 1899 Genre Fiction, Romance, Tragedy Historical Context The author, Kate Chopin, lived in, and generally wrote about, life in the South. In The Awakening, she wrote specifically about Creole society in Louisiana. Creoles maintained cultural traditions passed down from their French and Spanish ancestors. The novel highlights the turmoil of an outsider in the Creole community in Edna who struggles with the Creole tradition of female domesticity and her desire to be independent. Themes Solitude Caused by Independence Victorian women like Edna Pontellier were not afforded many opportunities for self expression and independence. They were expected to fulfill their domestic duties and care for their families. Along her journey in the novel, Edna gradually discovers her independence after being immersed in the Creole culture. Initially, her independence is felt as an emotion. For example she feels free when she swims for the first time. The sea is where she discovers her independence for the first time and it is described thusly: “The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude.” Whenever she talks about her feelings, she meets resistance from those close to her, especially her husband. When she sets out on her own, she realizes that ideas do not dictate reality and she cannot have a self sufficient existence as she
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