Criticism And Symbolism In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

Good Essays

After reading The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, it is clear that the text is much more naturalist rather than feminist. The author uses Edna Pontellier as the antagonist, tempting the conventional laws that govern her life while using her surrounding citizens who are depicted as ideal citizens following the conventional societal laws of the Victorian Era. Edna Pontellier was living in the late 1800’s in New Orleans. During this Victorian Era, society was governed by a set of unwritten Laws that women and men abided to. Men were expected to hold a steady job and use their income to provide for their wife and children. Women were expected to maintain the household, watch over the children, and make their husbands happy. During this time, men had the opportunity to go out and engage in social activities. This was also a period in history when the first wave of feminist ideas were slowly rising. Women during this time period were beginning to see that they had no equality in many aspects of life and that some conventional duties were taking away their rights to be considered their own, individual, human beings.
In The Awakening, Kate Chopin includes dialogue between characters which not only show interaction and creates setting, but also gives innate symbolism for what was considered the social norms during the time period. Chopin illustrates Edna’s husband, Leonce Pontellier, as an ideal husband; working hard for his family, traveling to maintain his career, loving his

Get Access