Adele Ratignolle Essay

Decent Essays

Is there one definition of feminism?
Kathleen M. Streater wrote the article, Adele Ratignolle: Kate Chopin’s Feminist at Home in The Awakening. The peer-reviewed journal entry was published in The Midwest Quarterly and seems to be the only article written by Streater as it is difficult to find much information on Streater. Streater made a convincing argument throughout the article by using expert quotes that bolster the position she took in addressing Edna’s radical feminism. Streater said, “To focus solely on Edna’s radical feminism is to limit Chpoin’s exploration of feminism.” Edna fought against natural and societal structures of motherhood forcing her to be referred to as the wife of Leonce Pontellier instead being her/ …show more content…

Streater indicates that Adele’s ‘mother-woman’ description should be approached with great scepticism. Adele was untrustworthy thus suggesting an ironic stance existing behind admiration from the narrator (Streater 407). The exaggerated description makes readers view Adele as a saint in the idealized patriarchal position. Even though Adele is an embodiment of mother-woman, Streater indicates that she used it for self-interests. The author notes the several instances where Adele within the patriarchal role in the society becomes Kate Chopin’s feminist at home (Streater 406).
Streater believes that Chopin described two different types of women symbolizing feminism through Edna and Adele. Throughout the novel, Streater indicates that the actions by Adele support the assigned gender roles. Adele is content with her life while Edna always wanted more. Edna looked up to Mademoiselle Reisz as the role model who according to Streater did not have such qualities. Edna is too blinded by the dire need of perceived freedom, but this was authentic feminist potential (Streater 412). However, the author requires the reader to interrogate the popular and suppressive societal demands (Streater 410). Adeptly, Streater gets the core of the matter by trying to make the reader identify with Adele instead of Edna. She wanted her audience to see that Chopin’s followers or readers would resemble domestic situation as experienced by Adele and not Edna’s rejection path.

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