The novel “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin is about Edna Pontellier, a wealthy housewife living in Louisiana during the late nineteenth century, and her journey of self-liberation. Edna Pontellier feels unfulfilled with her marriage to Leonce Pontellier, and her role as a mother. Edna meets, and falls in love with Robert Lebrun over the summer while her family is vacationing at a resort in Grand Isle. After the summer ends, and Edna returns home to New Orleans, she begins making lifestyle changes in order to bring back the feeling of happiness that she felt with Robert while in Grand Isle. Edna Pontellier experiments by having an affair, and attempts to live as an artist by taking up painting.
When undergoing socially oppressive conditions, many individuals are hesitant to invoke changes in their lifestyle. Kate Chopin’s The Awakening exemplifies how an individual rejects societal restrictions through Edna Pontellier, a nineteenth century woman who is in a passionless marriage with her Creole husband. Being a part of an upper-middle class family, she vacations in Grand Isle, but primarily lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. Edna initially submits to the Creole expectations that limit her freedom, but realizes her current status in life is not enough for her and begins to implement changes in her lifestyle. She pursues independence in various ways and defies the typical housewife role she has been playing for her entire life.
One male friend, Robert Lebrun, eventually turns into a lover for Edna, and without him, she feels absent of “brightness… color… [and] the meaning of … everything” (Chopin 61-62). This relationship of pure love she has built with Robert alters her perception of her own marriage. The connection concludes she was rushed into her husband, never once honestly loving Mr. Pontellier. Robert teaches Edna how to truly care, giving her purpose and motivation. Another male figure to alter her perceptions is Alcée Arobin, the bond being different from Robert as he acts “like a narcotic upon her” (Chopin 105).
The other reason makes Edna realize her own self is swimming, as if a release to her. Refer to what she said in the novel, to beyond other women, it can express that her aspiration on being alternative and get rid of the constraint from the society. Also that is the first body contact with Robert, she find herself in the ocean, and there is the place she longing, also aware of the freedom. Robert, is a boy she falls in love with, yet she aware of that, if she marries to Robert, her future just same as now, she will lose her freedom.
Often times when a person is forced to outwardly conform while questioning themselves it leads to a struggle between their inner selves and what is expected of them. Outward conformity often oppresses a character’s true feelings of loneliness and being misunderstood. In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, leads a dissatisfactory life. She is stuck in a loveless marriage, and has children, all in an attempt to conform to the social norm of the Victorian woman. However, she inwardly questions whether or not she should try to break free from this life to find her own independence and happiness.
This novel, The Awakening, is about a woman named Edna Pontellier learns to think of herself as an independent human being. Also, Edna Pontellier refuses to obey against the social norms by leaving her husband Leónce Pontellier and having an affair with Robert Lebrun. Kate Chopin describes societal expectations and the battle of fitting the mold of motherhood in the Awakening by how Edna Pontellier and Adele Ratignolle contribute to their family in different ways. Edna Pontellier’s attitude toward motherhood is that she is not a perfect mother-women. Adele Ratignolle’s attitude toward motherhood is that she is a perfect mother-women.
In The Awakening, Edna represents desire, impulse, and rebellion. While Adele represents the socially accepted woman, she is submissive, obedient, and a homemaker. This drastic contrast facilitates Chopin's emphasis on Edna’s rebellion, and how drastic it was for the time period. “Edna's experience of self-discovery, "tangled" and chaotic and therefore "vague" or hard for her to comprehend, touches upon a core issue, of individual variation and the uncertainty involved in its creation, expression, and consequences.” (Glendening).
Keir Nason AP English Literature and Composition Mrs. Schroeder January 3, 2018 Politics and literature are far from strange bedfellows. Social commentary and allegory have been tools in the literary toolbox since Ancient Greece, with Plato’s Allegory of The Cave being one of the earliest forms of the device. Science fiction is an entire genre that, at least to a degree, is based upon the premise of looking at the problems of today through the eyes of tomorrow. Oftentime, authors seek to tackle the issues of their time within their writing, and Kate Chopin was no different when she published her final work The Awakening in 1899. At the time of The Awakening’s release, many works strived to address the rights of women, with the Suffragette
At the beginning of the novel, Edna had appeared to be recognizing the fact that her life revolves around her husband and her children, and that it is her main duty to care for them. It is mainly Mr. Pontellier, her husband, who tries to establish an image of her being a both a perfect partner and wife. He views her as an object that must be suitable for the eyes of society. According to him, his wife is a “valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage” (Chopin 2). He is controlling over her appearance and actions.
Edna developed a yearning for the pursuit of passion and sensuality, two major qualities that were absent in her marriage and home. She became enchanted with the idea of passionate love. This is shown by her relationship with Robert and with Alcée. These relationships resulted in a sexual awakening in Edna’s life. Mademoiselle Reisz 's piano performances brought an emotional awakening in Edna and fed her need for some drama in her life.
For many years, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening was considered perhaps one of the most scandalous novels written by a woman about a woman’s sexual and spiritual liberation and independence. Much of Chopin’s fiction has been praised as a celebration of female sexuality, conspicuously highlighting the tension between erotic desire and the demands that come from marriage, family life, and society (Martin 1). Unlike other literary contemporaries, Chopin does not attempt to moralize her heroines’ moral frailty, and more importantly she unapologetically allows her heroines’ unconventional sexuality to thrive (Martin 6). Only recently has The Awakening been acknowledged as a well-crafted narrative of Edna Pontellier’s struggle between individuality and
A woman with an independent nature can be described as rebellious, passionate, and courageous. In Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, the reader is introduced to Edna Pontellier, a female who epitomizes the qualities of a woman with such an independent nature. Living in a “patriarchal society” that expects women to be nothing more than devoted wives and nurturing mothers, Edna attempts to seek out her true identity as it becomes apparent how unsettled she feels about her life. Throughout The Awakening, Edna Pontellier, dissatisfied with her duties as a mother and wife, decides to pursue her own interests and express her true identity, resulting in an awakening and her finding the courage to make the changes she deems as necessary. Edna Pontellier had two young boys, Etienne and Raoul, who were ages four and five, respectively.
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.
In the 19th century, a group of people launched the suffrage movement, and they cared about women’s political rights, their property and their body liberty. Born in that age, Kate Chopin was aware of the importance of setting an example for those who were taken in by the reality and poor women to be an inspiration. So we call her a forerunner of the feminist author for every effort she put in advocating women’s sexuality, their self-identity and women’s own strength. When people were ashamed of talking about sexuality, Kate Chopin stood out and call for women’s sexual autonomy.
Title: The Awakening Author: Kate Chopin Setting: Grand Isle and New Orleans in the early 19th century Genre: Tragedy Historical context: The Awakening takes place when women were seen as a man’s possession. Mr. Pontellier looks at Edna as a possession. Women were expected to stay devoted to their husband and children and remain a stereotypical housewife whose main job is to clean, cook and care for the children. (Adele) Edna rivals against these standards as she challenges society 's expectations of women during the early 19th century.