Gender Roles in "The Awakening" Essay

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Gender Roles in The Awakening The 1890’s were an era of rapid social change in regards to women’s rights. In 1893, Colorado was the first state granting women the right to vote with Utah and Idaho following soon after in 1896. This soon set momentum towards of ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. It was in 1899 the Kate Chopin published The Awakening, a novel telling the tale of a suppressed mother, Edna Pontellier, and her desire for something more in her life. Literary scholars consider Chopin’s The Awakening as a subtle yet effective portrayal of women of the late 19th century and consider it as an important piece of the feminism movement. Throughout the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, women had felt controlled by men and the …show more content…
Adele is a selfless woman as she devotes her whole existence to her children and husband. She was often found sewing “little night drawers…a bodice…or a bib” (11) for the upcoming winter whereas Edna’s “mind was quite at rest concerning the present material needs of her children” (11). Adele frequently talks about her children, always sounding proud or excited about them. Edna neglects to mention her children many times, as clearly they are not the top priority in her life. Many times Adele would wonder if she even should leave her children behind and go somewhere with Edna. Adele is accepted in the Creole community, she is family to them, and she has many Creole companions. This only noticed when you note Edna’s relations with the Creole community, she is accepted but never seems to fully integrate with the community. This is representative of the how Edna rejects the common role of women in society at the time. Chopin also uses a subtle hint of Adele’s appearance to suggest that Adele’s commitment to her maternal role. Adele is described a delicate woman with soft hands and pale skin. This is to suggest that Adele does not leave her house, nor does she do physical labor, which would mean she would leave the house. Her pale skin suggests that she is committed to the household and all the duties involved. Her physical beauty is to impress her husband as she is frequently seeking his approval through her physical

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