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Nontraditional Charcters in The Awakening by Kate Chopin Essay

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Kate Chopin uses dynamic characters to help create Edna Pontillier. By using Mr. Pontillier, Edna’s children, and Madame Ratignolle to contrast Edna; and Robert, Madame Raisz, and Arobin as supporting characters to Edna’s untraditional ambitions Kate Chopin produces an independent, unconventional woman. While some characters contrast to Edna all of the characters in The Awakening help to illuminate Edna’s opposition to Creole tradition. Without the use of supporting and contrasting characters Edna would have never been able to fly above tradition. With a husband and two children at the age of twenty eight, Edna Pontillier realized that the mother-wife life was not for her. With her new found independence Edna’s husband was unsure of how…show more content…
Since Madame Ratignolle and Edna are classified under the same group of women, Madame Ratignolle makes Mrs. Pontillier look like a floozy. Madame Ratignolle is also a contributing factor to Mrs. Pontillier’s life ending decision. “Adele, pressing her cheek, whispered in an exhausted voice: “Think of the children, Edna. Oh think of the children! Remember them!”” (pg. 182) This declaration that Madame Ratignolle makes as Edna is leaving aids her in thinking about the children and what they deserved as well as what she deserved. In The Awakening Robert and Mademoiselle Reisz are the first people who truly extract Edna’s sexuality and independence. Rather than socialize with all the men in the Creole Society Robert chooses to spend his time with Mrs. Pontillier and Madame Ratignolle. Many people, including Madame Ratignolle, could see the sensual tension between Robert and Edna. “Do me a favor, Robert… I only ask for one; let Mrs. Pontillier alone.” (pg. 35) Although Robert leaves Grand Isle in order to save Mrs. Pontillier he is a predominate factor in why she openly begins to abandon the Creole Society. Robert is the first character in the story to accept and appreciate Edna’s free spirit and open mind. He helps teach her how to swim and shows the affection and support that she has been looking for. Robert is able to extract Edna’s rebellious because she falls in love with him. This is seen when in Mademoiselle Reisz and Edna’s conversation. ““Why do you love him when
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