The Expectations Of Women In Edna Chopin's The Awakening

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Edna Pontellier in the novel, The Awakening, is a self-driven woman determined to become independent and free whilst undergoing a significant change in behavior throughout the novel. She attempts to withstand societal expectations by doing certain things that were not socially acceptable during this time period. While doing so, she experiences many different struggles during her awakening. These struggles that Edna undergoes may be described as internal as well as external. In the awakening, there is a constant conflict between inner and outer Edna.
Societal expectations of women during this time period were for women to follow orders from their husband no matter the conditions. A man would not necessarily get married for love, but rather for the ownership of the women. Edna’s attempt to become an independent women is made difficult due to the the expectation from others, including her husband. When discussing with Doctor Mandelet about going away with her husband, Edna responds, “Perhaps-no, I am not going. I’m not going to be forced into doing things. I don’t want to go abroad. I want to be let alone. Nobody has any right-except children, perhaps”(Chopin 116). Edna’s usage of the word “perhaps” represents her hesitation and details how inner edna wants something that outer edna is not inclined to do. In
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There is a perceived split between “outer Edna and inner Edna” that is constantly disrupting Edna and her desires. Outer Edna is supposed to be recognized as this ideal wife who obeys her husband and does what he commands-similar to her friend Adele. This lifestyle that Edna is supposed to live by cannot be achieved due to “inner Edna’s” desire of being free and independent. “Outer Edna” conforms to society expectations even if it is not what she desires, while “inner Edna” seeks independence and

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