She leaves the care of her children to her grandmother, abandoning them and her husband when she leaves to live in the pigeon-house. To her, leaving her old home with Léonce is very important to her freedom. Almost everything in their house belonged to him, so even if he were to leave, she would still feel surrounded by his possessions. She never fully becomes free of him until she physically leaves the house. That way, Edna has no ties whatsoever to that man. Furthermore, Edna indulges in more humanistic things such as art and music. She listens to Mademoiselle Reisz’s playing of the piano and feels the music resonate throughout her body and soul, and uses it as a form of escapism from the world. Based on these instances, Edna acts almost like a very young child, completely disregarding consequences and thinking only about what they want to do experience most at that moment. However, to the reader this does not necessarily appear “bad”, but rather it is seen from the perspective of a person who has been controlled by others their entire life and wishes to break free from their grasp. In a way, she is enacting a childlike and subconscious form of revenge by disobeying all known social constructs of how a woman should talk, walk, act, and interact with others.
The ending of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening is both controversial and thought provoking. Many see Edna Pontellier’s suicide as the final stage of her “awakening”, and the only way that she will ever be able to truly be free. Edna’s suicide, however, is nothing more than her final attempt to escape from her life. Edna Pontellier’s life has become too much for her to handle, and by committing suicide she is simply escaping the oppression she feels from her marriage, the suppression she feels from her children, and the failure of her relationship with Robert.
The story, The Awakening, is about Edna Pontellier’s internal conflict between her desire for independence and her need to remain a high-class member of society. When away on summer vacation Edna has the realization that she has control of her own life and begins to focus on her self and not what others think. During her awakening, Edna is faced with much resilience from her husband and friends and instead of becoming someone she is not, Edna Pontellier ends her own life as she sees it is her only option. The author, Kate Chopin, uses many characters to exemplify the conflicting ideals emerging in Edna; particularly Madame Ratignolle acts as a foil to Edna’s newfound persona, instead symbolizing the conservation of a traditional
This is the point in the story where Edna starts listening to her voices inside her gives into her inner desires. She continues to struggle with the fact that she married out of convenience and she has two sons that she really does not want to mother as well as the fact that she loves being an artist. In chapter x, Edna goes to the sea only to realize that all her swimming lesson had finally paid off that summer and she was swimming. Chopin describes this even like a baby finally getting enough confidence to walk and the baby walks realizing its own strength and power. While swimming, she soon gets tired and has quick feeling overcome her of the possibility of drowning but quickly swims back to shore. She has conquered her greatest fear and now feels like a new woman that is no longer afraid of her true feelings. Edna’s affair with Robert continues and he eventually leaves Grand Isle and her and her family returns home.
This is represented by Madame Lebrun's parrot and mocking-bird. Mr. Pontellier is annoyed by the birds' incessant chatter. However, "they had the right to make all the noise they wished" (43). Edna is caged, and she is doing what ever she can to be free within her limits. Mr. Pontellier is upset by his wife's struggles for freedom. She allows herself to fall in love with Robert, and purchases her own house, despite the wishes of her husband. Just as the birds have no concern that their singing may bother those outside their cage, so Edna does not care that her actions may negatively affect others. Just before Edna kills herself, she sees a "bird with a broken wing...beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water" (175). Edna is this bird; disabled and heading to her death in the water. Her freedom is not total, and causes her death.
Through the story Edna becomes more and more uneasy about not being able to do and have what she really wants. This can be shown from the beginning when she lets her children play by themselves and doesn’t miss her husband when he is away from home. Edna tried to be a good mother by becoming friends with an old fashioned woman, Madame Adèle Ratignolle, who devoted her life to her husband and children. However, when Edna was not around Madame Adèle Ratignolle, she forgot how to be like Adèle Ratignolle and instead busied herself with what was considered to be her “childish ways”. She would try to make herself as happy as possible; she was not her happiest with her husband and kids. When Edna discovered her passion for art, she embraced it and neglected her family even more so than before.
In the iconic debated novel “The Awakening”, Kate Chopin’s novel takes place in the Victorian Era, which is in the 19th- century, similarly the novel was published in 1899. Edna is depicted as a woman longing for more, a woman who was looking for more than just a life of complacency and living in the eyes of society. The story uses Edna to exemplify the expectations of women during this era. For example, a woman’s expression of independence was considered immoral. Edna was expected to conform to the expectations of society but the story reveals Edna’s desires which longed for independence in a state of societal dominance. Throughout The Awakening, Chopin’s most significant symbol,
Many times however, her rebellion is seen as selfish childishness to others. Breaking the rules and finding her true happiness is what awakens Edna Pontellier and makes her different from the rest. She rebels against society by thinking differently, finding independence, doing what she wants without obeying her husband, moving out to her new "pigeon-house", and taking part in two adulterous affairs. Her climatic finale, her suicide, is her ultimate act of rebellion, not giving the ways of the world, her decision to finally be free. ‘‘She went on and on. She remembered the night she swam far out, and recalled the terror that seized her at the fear of being unable to regain the shore. She did not look back now, but went on and on, thinking of the blue-grass meadow that she had traversed when a little child, believing that it had no beginning and no end.’’ (Chopin, 120) All her rebellious actions are what make Edna such a controversial, yet influential woman till this
Symbolism also plays an enormous role, birds, oceans, and sound are three different interpretations of Edna. Throughout the entire story, caged birds appear quite often resembling the trapped society of Mrs. Pontellier, it also serves as a reminder that she's caged like a bird wanting to escape and also the entrapment of women in that specific time. In the beginning, the parrot talking to Mr. Pontellier saying to leave in French represents as Edna’s
Throughout The Awakening, a novel by Kate Chopin, the main character, Edna Pontellier showed signs of a growing depression. There are certain events that hasten this, events which eventually lead her to suicide.
In the story about Edna Pontellier a major theme is her omitted self discovery. In the story we can see how Chopin uses style, tone and content to make the reader understand how it was for a person challenging many of the beliefs of the society at the beginning of the twentieth century.
She is moved by music. During that summer Edna sketches to find an artistic side to herself. She needs an outlet to express who she is. Edna feels that art is important and adds meaning to her life. After the summer is over and they are back to the city and Edna is a changed woman. She makes many steps towards independence. She stops holding "Tuesday socials", she sends her children to live in the country with their grandparents, she refuses to travel abroad with her husband, she moves out of the Lebrun house on Esplanade Street, and to earn money, she starts selling her sketches and betting the horses. She also starts a relationship with another man Alcee Arobin. He meant nothing to her emotionally but she used him for sexual pleasure. Edna evolved above her peers she did not believe that sexuality and motherhood had to be linked. The last step of her "awakening" is the realization that she can not fulfill her life in a society that will not allow her to be a person and a mother. Edna commits suicide in the ocean at Grand Isle.
Edna Pontellier as a character is an Interesting topic amongst scholars who have read The Awakening by Kate Chopin. The topic of her suicide is the focal point of such discussion. Weather it was an act of heroism, or the downfall of an already pitiful woman. While it may be easy to characterize suicide as a “coward's” death it's not good to be so hasty. Looking at Edna as a character one can see a woman who is clearly more progressive than the time she was in. Edna had always been on a different wavelength than her peers. One that means she was different, unpredictable, and outcast. However this isn't the case, Edna should be praised for her courage and heroism towards the
Due to the restrictions put on Edna not only by her husband’s dedication to appearance, but by the society that encourages women to be viewed almost as property in a marriage instead of an equal participant in the relationship, Edna grows increasingly dissatisfied with her lifestyle, and feels as if she has been living two separate lives. The reader can sense this duality within Edna, even before she meets Robert leading the reader to believe that while the affair was the lynchpin for her awakening, there was always some dissatisfaction with her role in society. Chopin illustrates this when she describes Edna’s duality, stating: “Even as a child, she had lived her own small life all within herself. At a very early period she had apprehended
In Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, the constant boundaries and restrictions placed on Edna Pontellier by society will lead to her struggle for freedom and her ultimate suicide. Her husband Leonce Pontellier, the current women of society, and the Grand Isle make it evident that Edna is trapped in a patriarchal society. Despite these people, Edna has a need to be free and she is able to escape from the society that she despises. The sea, Robert Lebrun, and Mademoiselle Reisz serve as Edna’s outlets from conformity. “Edna's journey for personal independence involves finding the words to express herself. She commits suicide rather than sacrificing her independent,