When Edna Pontellier of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening realized that she was not satisfied with the life that she was leading, she began to gradually break free from the societal restrictions placed upon her. She seeks freedom from her role as a wife, first distancing herself from Mr.Pontellier by engaging in relationships with other men, then distancing herself further when she purchases her own house. During her pursuit for a new life, a wave of emotions that had previously gone dormant are revived. She finds herself increasingly attached to her new life: her paintings, her pigeon house, and her love for Robert. As the novella proceeds, Edna’s feelings for Robert intensify, and his final rejection of her leaves her heartbroken. It is not Robert’s rejection, however, that leads Edna to commit suicide, nor is it her inability to escape from her role as a wife. Instead, there is a third role which Edna struggles to break free from, the role of motherhood: a constraint which eventually leads Edna to taker her life. Edna’s most prosperous liberation is that from her duty towards her husband. When she first moves out, she exclaims that “every step which she …show more content…
It makes no difference to me, it doesn’t matter about Leonce Pontellier—but Raoul and Etienne!” (Chopin, 108). The hyphen points to the one exception to the rule, Raoul and Etienne. Of course, that is not to say that Edna possess the typical relationship that a mother has with her children. In fact, her relationship is far from that. She herself describes her attitude as a fluctuating one, “she would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them” (Chopin, 19). This fluctuation, however, is what makes her children a stronger force in her suicide than her duties towards her husband, her duties as a housewife, and even her love for
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
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
Throughout the novel Edna imagined this perfect life with Robert filled with impetuous passion. Though Robert loved Edna, he decided to leave for Mexico to avoid a morally wrong relationship with her. Even after returning to Louisiana, Robert abandons Edna a second time only leaving a note stating “I love you. Good-by—because I love you” (Chopin 198). The reality of Edna’s relationship with Robert would never meet her expectations due to her legal connection to Leonce.
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 fully understands that society would brand her as a terrible woman, but she does not view herself as a bad person. There is an external and internal difference that Edna hopes to one day reconcile. Chopin, instead of creating tension within Edna, created tension within the society and Edna with her newfound independence does not mind how society classifies her. Decisively, it can be concluded that the tension between outward conformity and inward questioning builds the meaning of the novel by examining Edna’s role as a wife, mother, and as nontraditional woman in the traditional Victorian period.
Because motherhood was such an important component of women's lives, developing distinct thoughts and actions was very challenging. In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier desires to formulate her own identity and questions what she wants to do with her life. Seeking to escape conformity, Edna explores
Kate Chopin's The Great Awakening explains how Edna Pontellier, an everyday woman of the nineteenth century, opens up and explores herself. A majority of the important characters in her story are the men in Edna's life. Men like Leonce, Robert, and Alcee all are key pieces to her awakening. They all influence Edna in their own ways. Leonce Pontellier is a controlling husband and an all around materialistic man.
She begins to have a life of her own. Edna goes out to horse races and starts seeing another man, Arobin. Most importantly, she decides to move out and buy her own small house. She makes up her mind that she wants to be with Robert instead of her
In the late 1800’s, women were seen as mother figures who stood by their husbands. They were expected to give a perfect image to society. Essentially, women were repressed and controlled by their husbands giving them no voice of their own. However, In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, the reader is introduced to Edna Pontellier who exposed the dissatisfaction that women felt during that time. Throughout the novel Edna discovers feelings that she had never felt before.
Edna said that she would give up unessentials for her children, which means that she does not care about them. Kate Chopin uses Adele to describe how a typical dedicated wife should treat her husband and children. Edna is not Creole and she does not treat her husband and her children right.
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
It was easy to know them, fluttering about with extended, protecting wings when any harm, real or imaginary, threatened their precious brood” (Chopin 10). This shows an obvious neglect of her duties as a mother woman. Edna even testified that she did not enjoy the role by saying, ““Feeling secure regarding their happiness and welfare, she did
Moreover, when her children tumbled, she will not pick them up just let them get up on their own. In contrast to Adele, Edna is not contributing herself to her family as well as Adele. Edna tries to fit in as the role to be a good mother, but, she cannot definitely, to be a mother-woman cannot fulfill her eagerness to be a special, independent and egocentric person. In Chapter XVI, Edna said to Adele, she would give her money and her life to children, but never herself. And that is what she is trying to understand and recognize.
Another mother in the neighborhood, Madame Ratignolle, speaks with Edna about what the standards are for mothers and married women during this time. Madame Ratignolle believes Edna is “not a mother-woman [because] … they [are] women who idolize their children” (Chopin 10). Edna’s poor mothering is very noticeable to those around, especially Madame Ratignolle. Edna begins disagreeing with Adele, another mother in the neighborhood, and explains she would give up her unwanteds but not sacrifice herself for her children. When Edna says this about her children proves she would instantly prioritize herself over her children if it came down to it.
Edna’s marriage to Leonce “was purely an accident, in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of Fate. It was in the midst of her secret great passion that she met him. He fell in love, as men are in the habit of doing, and pressed his suit with an earnestness and ardor which left nothing to be desired” (Chopin 18). As Edna’s awakening develops, she begins to act out of character, driven by her inward desires. She starts spending more and more time with Robert, and while Leonce is aware, he pays no attention to the affair.
Kate Chopin introduces her main character as “Mrs. Mallard” to signify her being married. However, within her marriage, she loses herself. Being married, she took her husband’s last name and became a wife. In a way it changed her personality. She was no longer her own self, she was someone else’s “property”.