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.
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.
In The Awakening the main character Edna is going through a life changing event. Edna unfortunately is living in an era where women are supposed to be dependent and devoted to their husbands and a full time mother. Edna doesn’t want to play that role anymore and she wants to become independent. Edna’s want for independence and becoming her own person is finally achieved when she sacrifices her life and kills herself. Edna sacrificing her life shows how her values begin to change from only caring about her family’s needs to now caring about her own needs/wants.
(40, Chopin) The awakening helped Edna to discard the conventional concept, and sought for the real self. Edna was awakened from her family. After Edna’s husband had conflict with her, she stayed alone and felt “An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness, filled her whole being with a vague anguish.” (6, Chopin) The long-term suppression awakened her from the meaningless times she had spent, since she were under the control of her husband after marriage and forced to take care of children. By realizing that she should find her own happiness instead of clinging to outdated custom, she decided to get away from her husband. Therefore, she was not longer going to be the same woman as others who centered their lives on husband and children.
During the nineteenth century, possessions, including women, and the home represented status, wealth, and power that only men possessed. In The Awakening, the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, becomes highly conscious of herself as an individual who has the potential to be self-sufficient and do as she desires. She begins to defy the standards of woman during the nineteenth century through iconoclastic beliefs that eventually lead Edna to participating in an affair and leaving her husband, Leonce. In The Awakening, Kate Chopin uses the motif of the home to highlight Edna’s responsibilities as a mother and wife and to also track the progression and evolution of Edna’s state of freedom. Mr. Pontellier takes great pride in his household possessions, including Edna, so as his wife, she is obligated to perform her duties that are expected of her, which limits her free-will.
During the late nineteenth century, the time of the protagonist Edna Pontellier, a woman’s place in history was mostly confined to her children and her husband, with there being little of herself to enjoy. Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, embodies the triumphs and frustrations in a woman’s life as she struggles with handling strict societal demands. Defying the roles of a typical “mother-woman,” Edna battles with the pressures of her time that demand she be a devoted and controlled housewife. One of the first overtly feminist novels, The Awakening criticizes gender and social roles in ways that have now heavily influenced what we call feminism. One of the first ways that Chopin battles the nineteenth century Victorian era is with
Initially, Edna is characterized as independent as she is following the Victorian orders for women which was to move aside her personality and care for her children and husband. At this point Edna has realized that her husband is weighing her down and she tries to find herself by separating herself from her family and home. She finds that she loves Robert after her “awakening” whilst he seems to acknowledge that he is trespassing a line between what he thinks is right and leaves Edna alone to face her awakening. Another theme represented in the book has to do with class and society. Was Edna going on a suicide swim or was it an accident due to the way society has made her believe things should be during this specific era and considering that Leonce was a well known man who traveled immensely and solely depended on Edna to fill her role while he was
Although, Edna’s leaving did leave her children without a mother, she did it in “secret”. She set up her suicide to look like an accident which allowed there to be peace for her kids, and again protect them from the horrible judgemental remarks from society if they found out she really did commit
Edna’s realization about her natural position of woman and mother in combination with the societal position she’s expected to fill drives her to suicide. The concept of sharing her body with another being, becoming truly a part of something other than her individual self, is the opposite of everything that Edna has been looking for. She thinks of how Raoul and Etienne will be a constant presence in her life and how her natural position as a mother prevents her from being able to live a life without them. After all, a woman’s primary job is to bring her
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.