In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, the protagonist of the story, Edna Pontellier, is a woman in the late 1800’s who has been living a life of the expectations of the women of that time. She is a devoted wife and mother. After a vacation in Grand Isle, she meets new friends and new surroundings that influence the way she thinks. These influences also help to establish herself as an independent woman and break free from the traditional everyday womanly duties. But, will this road to becoming independent consume her so much that she will lose everything that she has come to known? It all starts with the new friends she meets while she is on vacation with her family at Grand Isle.
While Edna is on her vacation, she meets Adele Ratignolle, the epitome of the typical 1800’s woman. Chopin describes these women as “women who idolized their children, worshiped their husbands, and esteemed it as a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels.” (Chopin 10) She also says women, in particular Creole women, were impressive because of their freedom of expression about anything, including things society doesn’t speak openly about like romantic gossip. Edna on the other hand is the complete opposite and is not the “mother-woman” type. She admires Adele because of her quality of being outspoken and it inspires her to think about old times in her youth of romantic dreams or fantasies. This is the start of Edna beginning to think in depth about her life. It also makes her begin to be more outspoken, especially to her husband. With her being more outspoken, she is able to break free from the natural hold her husband has on her and becomes free. It also begins the unspoken love that she has for another character in the story, Robert Lebrun.
... freedom. We finally begin to see women trying to break free from these traditional expectations and barriers ... (All)." Kate Chopin was the first American female novelist to write frankly about women's feelings toward ... (New York) 1892 7 July 2000 web Alan. "Chopin, Kate" The World book Encyclopedia. 1990 ed. Maloney ... in "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin, and Songlian in Raise the Red Lantern by ...
Robert is what the people at Grand Isle call a big flirt. Every year he courts a different woman but this time, when he chooses Edna, everything is different. Since most of the women that Robert courts are Creole women, they find his flirting funny and they enjoy his company. Edna on the other hand, takes it seriously and begins to develop feelings for Robert. She sees in Robert everything that she doesn’t have with her husband: love and devotion. They develop a relationship where they’re together all the time but they never admit their feelings for each other. One day, Robert announces that he will be leaving for Mexico for business. With Robert’s absence, Edna drives to become more and more independent. After she has left Grand Isle, she becomes more defiant with her husband, doing whatever she pleases. This causes her to really discover how she has no feelings for him whatsoever. She decides to move out of the house and into a smaller house because she felt like it was not homely. All these things that Edna are very uncommon for women of this time to do. Another important aspect of change that Edna experiences is her drive to succeed in art, which Mademoiselle Reisz pushes her to fulfill.
Mademoiselle Reisz is what most would call an old hag. Edna is the only person that she shows some sort of respect to. The Mademoiselle plays the piano exquisitely and Edna admires her. One night, she is asked to play some pieces on the piano and as soon as Edna hears it, she is moved. “She waited for the material pictures which she thought would gather and blaze before her imagination. She waited in vain. She saw no pictures of solitude, of hope, of longing or of despair. But the passions themselves were aroused within her soul, swaying it, lashing it.” (Chopin 34) The author is describing how instead of typically seeing certain images that she normally does every time she hears this particular pieces play, Edna actually felt certain passions from the music itself. Edna sees that music is Reisz’ passion and soon she seeks to follow her own passion of painting. These three characters in this novel have truly been the reasons to why Edna has changed to become an independent person.
... for independence made her a woman that could have fit easily in todays independent world. Kate Chopin Edna persuades the reader to reexamine ... feel comfortable and at rest in the others presence. To Edna, Robert is her equal, a partner on the journey of living ... be something mentally wrong with her. However, for the first time, Ednas mind is clear and she is content. Settled into her ...
In books, usually the plot and themes stand out the most to what makes the book good or bad. In this novel, Chopin has made complex characters that affect the protagonist of the story. I think that with Chopin doing this, it has made the story more interesting to read as to how this rebellion has been inflicted to Edna. Although these characters unintentionally drove Edna to her success of freedom, it also had its downfalls as well. Edna could have been labeled independent, she still had two things that were bound to her: her husband and children. “They were part of her life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her body, soul and mind.” (Chopin 156) Edna couldn’t except that her children would always be affected in society their opinion of her, so therefore, she kills herself by drowning in the ocean “accidentally.” This may be a sad ending, but I liked it because I thought of it as Edna accepting the consequences of leaving something so important behind only for her self. Overall, I think that this was a well-written story, although at times it was hard to understand because there were a lot of French phrases in it. Reading it has inspired me to become independent, while watching out for not neglecting others I care about for selfish desires.