Edna Pontellier as a Feminist in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

Decent Essays
Since the beginning of time social constrictions have always retained a firm grasp on the ideas and actions of humanity. While it remains a formidable foe, still some choose to fight back against the norm. This never-ending war is responsible for major advancements in the social order, but not every story is so successful. In Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”, Edna Pontellier finds herself fighting this very battle that, although begins with a positive outlook, ultimately ends in her demise. Throughout “The Awakening”, Edna is immersed in a constant clash with society over the significance of the difference between her life and her self. To Edna, the question of whether or not she would die for her children is somewhat simple. Edna attempts to explain this concept to her good friend, Adele Ratignolle, but to no avail, “I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself” (Chopin 62). Not only does Edna consider her life unessential, she categorizes it as equal with material objects such as money. The idea of self, on the other hand, lies on a completely different level in Edna’s mind. The most important goal to Edna in her life is the journey to discover her true character. The idea that her inner self is more essential than life or even her children causes Edna to stray farther from the social constraints of the typical domestic woman. Kathleen M. Streater weighs in on Edna’s situation and placement in
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