Essay on Romanticism, Realism and Local Color in The Awakening

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Romanticism, Realism and Local Color in The Awakening

Kate Chopin is an author who was born in 1851 and died in 1904. Her father died when she was young, and her husband died when she was thirty-one leaving her with six children. Due to this, she had little male influence throughout her life. This may possibly be why she had so little inhibition when writing her novels. She seemed to concentrate on the oppression of women and presented socially unacceptable ideas at the time of their publication. Although Kate Chopin stirred up great controversy in her time, today her novels, short stories, and poems are often regarded as great literary works that incorporate bold concepts, grim social realities,
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need for freedom from the ties of life that hold her down and also her need for individuality. One way she defies society is by leaving her home on Tuesdays, which are designated by Creole tradition as stay-at-home and greet guests days. On several Tuesdays, Edna leaves home to walk about town leaving her guests and husband disappointed. She searches to be an individual and not conform to the standards of society. As written in the novel, "She had all her life long been accustomed to harbor thoughts and emotions which never voice themselves. They had never taken the form of struggles. They belonged to her and were her own, and she entertained the conviction that she had a right to them and that they concerned no one but herself. Edna had once told Madame Ratignolle that she would never sacrifice herself for her children, or for any one" (79). Another example of Romanticism can be found in the way society treats life at the time. They are oblivious, especially the women, to the limits of their lifestyle. The society present in The Awakening paints a picture where they only see beautiful, vibrant colors. However, as Edna soon finds out, paint does not stay beautiful forever. Edna begins to see the layers of paint peeling and chipping off to reveal the grays and blacks hidden beneath.

As the story unravels, the reader
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