AP Literature and Composition
January 3 2017
The Awakening: 2014 Prompt
In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier is a housewife who spend her days chatting with friends and going to the beach in Grand Isle, Louisiana. She feels empty, and almost like an object, whose sole purpose is to satisfy the needs of her family. However, after a summer on Grand Isle, she begins to express her feelings and desires with the help of her friends and the surrounding Creole culture. Edna eventually undergoes a massive transformation during which she discovers what she is really passionate about and begins to do what she wants, when she wants, without the limitations of her husband or children. However during this …show more content…
However, all the time she spends listening to piano playing, is time she is not spending with her children or husband and neglecting her social duties. They become so distanced around this time that they are not even sleeping in the same bed and barely even see each other. This demonstrates that all of Edna’s creative ventures have come at a price, her marriage, but she values her self expression so much that she does not seem to mind.
Edna’s sacrifice of her family also illuminates one of her main values, freedom. In the beginning of the novella, Edna is reserved and demure. However her friendship with Adele Ratignolle encourages her to follow the creole style of expression and become more open and candid with her actions and voice. The friendship helps her learn to value herself as a person with real emotions, rather than a piece of property for her husband. This marks the beginning of her awakening, as she becomes more open with her feelings, prompting her to further her relationship with Robert. They begin to move past the level of innocent flirtation the Creoles are accustomed to, against the advice of Adele, leading Edna to a new sexual freedom as she continuously chooses to spend her time with Robert rather than her family. However, perhaps one of the most prominent examples of Edna’s high value of freedom comes at the very end
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.
Edna Pontellier, from The Awakening by Kate Chopin, finds herself crying for no apparent reason, with the voice of the sea comforting and inviting her to its depths. It is this moment that Edna realizes her unhappiness is due to an oppression within her. The Awakening is set in the late nineteenth century during summer vacation on the island named, Grand Isle, and follows the self-discovering journey of Edna Pontellier. Edna’s husband Lèonce Pontellier leaves for a business trip which gives Edna time alone to spend with a young gentleman named Robert Lebrun, a young flirtatious man that eventually falls in love with Edna. During this time away from her husband she begins to discover what she truly wants in her life. This exploration of
Kate Chopin’s book The Awakening published in 1899, provides a snapshot of Creole society through a neutral point of view. The male dominated French-Louisiana society provides a challenge for the main character, Edna Pontellier to adapt to. Through the character of Edna Pontellier, we the audience, see both an emotional and physical awakening. After awakening, Edna tries to combat the societal structures of motherhood which define her as the wife of motherhood and force her identity as the wife of Leoncé and the mother of Raoul and Etienne instead of her own self-defined individual. Chopin’s concentration on two other principal females outlines Edna’s options; either
Edna’s children are different from other children, if one of her boys fell “…he was not apt to rush crying to his mother’s arms for comfort; he would more likely pick himself up, wipe the water out of his eyes and the sand out of his mouth, and go on playing”. Edna is not a typical Creole “mother-woman” who “idolized her children (and) worshipped her husband” (8) and at times that results in her husband’s claims that she neglects her children. Edna’s children leave her attached to her husband, and even if she is somehow able to escape the relationship with her husband she will never be able to escape her children. She realizes this and whether consciously or not, doesn’t care for her children the way this is expected of a woman in her time period. When Adele Ratignolle reminds her to, “Think of the children!…Oh think of the children! Remember them!” Edna finally realizes her decisions affect her and her children. Instead of accepting her responsibility as a mother Edna decides to give up, and does so by committing suicide.
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.
In Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening a wife and a mother of two, Edna Pontellier, discovers her desires as a woman to live life to the fullest extent and to find her true self. Eventually, her discovery leads to friction between friends, family, and the dominant values of society. Through Chopin's use of Author’s craft and literary elements, the readers have a clear comprehension as to what the author is conveying.
After returning from vacation, Edna is a changed woman. When her husband and children are gone, she moves out of the house and purses her own ambitions. She starts painting and feeling happier. “There were days when she was very happy without knowing why. She was happy to be alive and breathing when her whole being seemed to be one with the sunlight, the color, the odors, the luxuriant warmth of some perfect Southern day” (Chopin 69). Her sacrifice greatly contributed to her disobedient actions.
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.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin introduces the reader to the life of Edna Pontellier, a woman with an independent nature searching for her true identity in a patriarchal society that expects women to be nothing more than devoted wives and nurturing mothers.
One theme apparent in Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, is the consequence of solitude when independence is chosen over conformity. The novel's protagonist, Edna Pontellier, is faced with this consequence after she embarks on a journey of self-discovery. "As Edna's ability to express herself grows, the number of people who can understand her newfound language shrinks" (Ward 3). Edna's awakening from a conforming, Victorian wife and mother, into an emotional and sexual woman takes place through the use of self-expression in three forms: emotional language, art, and physical passion.
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
Kate Chopin novel The Awakening is set in the late nineteenth century on the Grand Isle. The novel centers on Edna Pontellier a woman who is becoming sexually aware of herself and trying to gain her independence. Throughout the novel, she drives to meet her views on motherhood and femininity from the social attitudes of the South towards women; women were nothing but property. In the novel, Edna tries to seek her individuality from the constraints of society, but finds her journey impeded by her inability to transcend society; this delineated by her search for self, her choices, and her consequences.
Edna’s husband expected much of her ,more then she wanted to give. Edna started as an immature woman which was encouraged by her husband, who wanted to be the dominant figure in their relationship. Striving for independence, and unhappy with her mundane life, she wanted something different. Her infidelity leads to more sadness, because she fell in love with Robert, who leaves.
Edna is expected to live and act a certain way in order to uphold a reputation for her family, but mostly her husband. At the beginning of the novel, she does act this way. She puts on an outside personality which contradicts her true opinions and values. She keeps this personality until her “Awakening”, where she starts to show her true self. This “Awakening” starts with her realization of her love for Robert as he left to go to Mexico. Edna’s realization is shown in the statement, “For the first time she recognized anew the symptoms of infatuation which she had felt incipiently as a child” (45).