Critical Analysis: Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" Essay

1800 Words 8 Pages
In the novel The Awakening, Kate Chopin (2005) uses deep symbolism to show how the main character, Edna Pontellier, discovers her own independence in the society in which she lived. Edna was a traditional mother and wife seeking freedom and independence throughout her adult life. Chopin portrays Edna as being a rebel against her own life. The story takes place in the 1960s when women were to follow certain rules made by the society they lived in. Chopin also foreshadows the things that occur in Edna’s life through nature and death itself. Based on the many ways Chopin uses symbolic meanings through the novel, we can see the events of Edna’s life as one that rebels against society. Throughout this novel, Chopin proves that Edna’s actions …show more content…
Chopin confirms this by saying, “Mrs. Pontellier was not a woman given to confidences, a characteristic hitherto contrary to her nature. Even as a child she had lived her own small life all within herself…” (Chopin, 2005, Chapter 7, para. 1). Over the summer, even though she was already married, Edna met a young man by the name of Robert Lebrun and surprisingly fell in love. “The action was at first a little confusing to Edna, but she soon lent herself readily to the Creole’s gentle caress. She was not accustomed to an outward and spoken expression of affection…” (Chopin, 2005, Chapter 7, para, 19) meaning Robert gave Edna the kind of attention that she never got from her husband, Leonce Pontellier. She became ignorant of her surroundings and carried on into this “fantasy” (Chopin, 2005). Edna’s passions became overpowering to her self-control. This was a feeling that she had not felt with her husband even when she married him. Robert decided at the spur of the moment, he would leave on a business trip to Mexico without telling Edna. This caused Edna to feel even more alone and confused because she did not enjoy being married. Chopin proclaims, “Her marriage to Leonce Pontellier was purely an accident, in the respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of Fate” (Chopin, 2005, Chapter 7, para. 24). Her husband was never home and the man she ultimately loved left her
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