The Struggle In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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Going back into a history of society, it’s evident that everyone, women especially, are supposed to act and react to the events going on around them based on certain social scripts, or cues created by society that inform one how to act based on the situation. In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, has an ongoing struggle between how she is expected to act, and how she wishes she could act. The reader sees this struggle throughout the book, and how the outward expression and inner workings of her mind create conflict and tension, showing that a woman (or anyone in society) is often conflicted because of the norms of society. With a book written in 1899, Chopin’s main character shows that society sets standards that might make it possible for everyone to fit.
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This tension and conflict eventually lead to her own death, as she realises who she is, and with that, realises she can’t live in her society anymore. “She understood what she had meant long ago when she said to Adele Ratignolle that she would give up the unessential, but she would ever sacrifice herself or her children” (Chopin 188). Society would expect her to be who she’s supposed to be, but she doesn’t want to act in that way. It adds a new meaning to the work, as it shows that people are in constant conflict with different parts of their life. They can’t love anyone until they love themselves or figure out who they are. Edna doesn’t love her husband, because she doesn’t know who she is until she realises she loves Robert. Kate Chopin’s The Awakening follows Edna Pontellier, a woman of the Creole society who is constantly fighting between conforming as she is supposed, and acting how she wants to. Her struggle is shown through her outward conformity and her inner question, which conflict when the two expect and want different things from
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