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Edna Pontellier of The Awakening: A Woman before Her Time Essay

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Edna Pontellier is a woman of great needs. Although she has a husband who cares for her and two children, she is very unhappy. She plays her roles as a mother and wife often, but still keeps doing things unmarried, barren women should do: enjoy the company of other men, ignore her children's cries, dress unladylike for the times. The story is set in the late 1800's, when women were to be in the kitchen preparing a meal for their family, giving birth to more children to help with daily chores, or sitting quietly at home, teaching the children while the husband was at work. Edna Pontellier was a woman not of her time. At only 28, she would have rather been out gallivanting with different men, traveling with them, and painting…show more content…
She was pressured to marry Leonce by her father and older sister. Along with marriage came the pressure to have children. She is forced into these roles but never actually succumbs to them. Edna not only has Madame Ratignolle's friendship and her marriage to wake her up to her dreams and emotions, her affairs wake up to her desires. The way the different male characters treat her reminds her that she will never happily fit into the role of a wife and mother, therefore awakening her.

Leonce Pontellier was Edna's husband and the father of her children. Although she was married to him, it was not by her choice. Her oldest sister, who had stepped into the role as her mother when their mother died, and her father had the biggest say in whom Edna was to marry. "Her marriage to Leonce Pontellier was purely an accident, in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of Fate" (23). In the 1800's, women were perceived as property. They were first the property of their fathers, then property of their husbands - whoever was chosen by the parents for the women to marry. Leonce was in love with Edna, and had been since they met. Although she never quite felt as strongly, she was "pleased" and flattered by "his absolute devotion" (24).

After they married, in spite of her unentertained heart, they had two boys. Many of the other women around her made
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