The Oppression Of Women In The Awakening

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The Oppression of Women as in Chopin’s The Awakening Halfway through Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening Mr. Pontellier disdainfully describes his wife to the retired family physician: “She’s got some sort of notion in her head concerning the eternal rights of women”(Chopin 612). This quote depicts the view men had about a woman’s place in early twentieth century society. Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening is a commentary on the oppression of women in the early twentieth century. The commentary is apparent in the symbolism throughout the novel. The novel’s protagonist ,Mrs. Edna Pontellier, feels out of place and does not like the social restrictions placed upon her by societal norms. Mrs. Pontellier is a liberated woman living in a restrictive …show more content…

Mrs. Adele Ratignolle, Mrs. Pontellier’s best friend, is the polar opposite of Mrs Pontellier.. Mrs. Ratignolle is the ideal wife and mother: “...One of them was the embodiment of every womanly grace and charm. If her husband did not adore her he was a brute, deserving of death by slow torture, her name was Adele Ratignolle. There were no words to describe her save the old ones that have served dreams” (567). Mrs. Ratignolle is the perfect woman according to social norms of the early twentieth century. Mrs. Ratignolle is content to look after her children and care for her husband. In contrast, Mrs. Pontellier does not agree with this restrictive lifestyle. Women of the early twentieth century did not have a choice in whether they wanted to be wives and mothers. The only options for a woman was to be married or spend life as a spinster and a social pariah. The stark contrast between the two character is what gives each outlook depth and meaning. Mrs. Pontellier's’ egoistic suicide at the end of the novel is an act of freedom from social restrictions imposed upon women of the …show more content…

Kate Chopin’s characters are accurate representation of women during the early twentieth century. The word “handsome” as referring to Mrs. Pontellier , Mrs. Ratignolle as the perfect woman, and the image of the bird cage are symbols of oppressed women. Chopin’s novel was revolutionary for its time and was viewed as a scandalous novel. Chopin was a revolutionary feminist writer. The words “She’s got some sort of notion in her head concerning the eternal rights of women” (612) are spoken by Mr. Pontailler about his wife.This suggests that men of the early twentieth century viewed women as things to be kept. Chopin’s writing is important because it gave women the voice they were looking for and did not have the ability or support to provide for themselves. The Awakening is a novel ahead of its time that embodied the sentiment of feminism and other oppressed groups that did not have equality in the early twentieth century. Early feminist writings are an important part of American literature because they tell the story of women’s trials and

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