Slaves to Public Perception
The Awakening by Kate Chopin is a riveting tale following the lives of several Creole individuals living in New Orleans. It focuses on the deception created by a woman, Edna, and the individuals that surround her. Throughout the story, all of the individuals except for Edna are slaves to the perception of the public.
Léonce is the epitome of this ideology. If you pay attention to his actions throughout the book, they are dictated by his outward appearance to his clientele and neighbors. He had sent a large bundle of bonbons and peanuts back to his family when he was away just for this purpose. When Léonce came home one day, he saw his wife fast in bed. He told Edna, his wife, that one of their children was suffering from a fever, and then proceeded to smoke a cigar. Edna went to check on the child, who unsurprisingly showed no symptoms of any sort of fever. Upon arriving back into the bedroom, Edna saw Léonce now fast asleep in the bed. Edna, frustrated, stayed up for the rest of the night. In Edna’s mind, Léonce does nothing for the children aside from provide materialistic items in an attempt to keep up public appearance.
Robert is one of the individuals in the book that Edna had a deceitful relationship with. Robert is a sly, conniving person who manages to fake an outward appearance that appeases everyone in the book. He has been having an affair with Edna throughout the book, all while Edna was married and in a relationship with Léonce. Robert also apparently also flirted with many other people, never going anywhere with the relationships. However, his flirting with Edna did go somewhere. While “dating” Edna, Robert is able to appear as simply a friend to her, throwing off everyone close to him and Edna to his relationship. He spends time teaching her how to swim, and spent hours with Edna alone on the beach – “Robert had pursued a system of lessons almost daily; and he was nearly at the point of discouragement in realizing the futility of his efforts. A certain ungovernable dread hung about her when in the water, unless there was a hand near by that might reach out and reassure her.” (Chopin, unable to find the page number). He even had a convenient excuse to get inside Edna’s house while still appearing as only a friend, saying he needed tobacco related paraphernalia as he had none on his person at the time. With so much work spent on keeping things low key, when it came time for him to stop seeing Edna it was no surprise that he left her a note to break off the relationship before it was made aware. It may not have been the kindest way of doing it, but it definitely was the most discrete.
Kate Chopin Kate Chopin is one of the first female writers to address female issues, primarily sexuality. Chopin declares that women are capable of overt sexuality in which they explore and enjoy their sexuality. Chopin shows that her women are capable of loving more than one man at a time. They are not only attractive but sexually attracted (Ziff 148). Two of Chopins stories that reflect this ...
Alcee Arobin is another character in this story who some might say cares about what others think of him, only in a different way. He wears high quality clothing in order to keep up a high standard of appearance, and he has also earned himself the reputation for having affairs with many women. Alcee almost made sure of the fact that he is known in a certain way, much like Léonce works towards appearing as benevolent and gentlemanlike as possible. It is alluded to that much of Alcee’s gentleman like behavior is all a show, and not actually part of his character as well. “Alcee Arobin’s manner was so genuine that it often deceived even himself.” (Chopin, unable to fin the page number)
Edna, however, does not fit this trend – it is demonstrated through her actions that she does not care so much about what others think as much as she cares about what she herself thinks. It is quickly made aware that she does not care about her children – “He reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children. If it was not a mother’s place to look after children, whose on earth was it?” (Chopin, 12).
The Term Paper on ‘Fire and Ice’ by Robert Frost and ‘The Day They Came For Our House’ by Don Mattera
“The possession of power over others is inherently destructive both to the possessor of the power and to those over whom it is exercised.” George D. HerronThe modern industrialist society, in which we live, has been shaped by people in the possession of power, and the power of passion. The 20th and 21st century’s have illustrated clearly the deadly potential of power, and not ...
Edna did not even share the same interest as her husband in providing for her family. At the “open houses” that were held to form connections with wives of wealthy individuals, Edna chose to wear plain, unimpressive clothes – “Mrs. Pontellier did not wear her usual Tuesday reception gown; she was in ordinary house dress.” (Chopin, 129).
In fact, Edna did not even care enough to stay for the open house, which was greatly frowned upon by the Creole society. Instead, Edna chose to converse with other men, even going so far as to move into her own house, another sure sign she did not care what others thought of her – divorce was apparently very uncommon at the period, even more so for a woman to initiate the divorce with the man.
Edna does not care what others think so much that she openly goes for swims with Robert, the man who she is having an affair with, and even lets him into her house. She has an affair with Alcee Arobin as well – Alcee is a renowned philanderer, and him being seen with Edna would be sure to raise a few eyebrows, another instance of Edna’s inattention to the way she is perceived… The relationship between Alcee and Edna took place during Edna’s relationship with Robert, which took place during her relationship with Léonce. The fact that Edna was able to cheat on two people simultaneously reveals alot about Edna’s character and how much she cares about others views of her. When Robert left Edna the note designating the end of their relationship, Edna was hit with a wave of sadness, and she stripped down, walking on the beach and then proceeding to swim. The fact that Edna was able to walk around nude without a second thought showed how much she cared about her outward appearance. While she was out on the beach, Edna saw a bird with a broken wing, spiraling downwards, an allusion to Edna’s broken heart from Robert. “All along the white beach, up and down, there was no living thing in sight. A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water.” (Chopin, unable to find the page number) She proceeded to go swimming, and swam out into the middle of the Gulf Of Mexico where she drowned…
Robert Edmund Cormier, also known by his pseudonym… John Fitch IV, was born on January 17, 1925, in Leominster, Massachusetts. He was the second of eight children. He attended Fitchburg State College and for 30 years he worked as a journalist for the local newspaper. It wasn’t until 1960, when he was in his late 40’s, that he published his first novel, “Now and at the ...
As the story progresses, Léonces obsession with public appearance drove Edna away from him and Roberts awareness led him to flee to Mexico away from Edna. At the same time, Edna’s lack of caring about her outward appearance eventually resulted in her untimely death. It could be said that the way the public viewed the main characters in this book largely influenced the decisions made by the characters within the book… Quite possibly moreso than the opinions or views of the people themselves.