Sexual Fulfillment in Chopin's Awakening

878 Words4 Pages
Society keeps order, allows for advancement, and gives humanity a good face. It also imposes morals, roles, and limits a person's potential development. If someone wishes to reach beyond what society expects of them, they must cast aside social restrictions. Edna Pontellier, in Kate Chopin's The Awakening, feels the urge to cast off the veil society burdens her with and live as she chooses to. The driving factor behind her desire to awaken is her lack of sexual fulfillment. She lives her life following conduct becoming of a woman who marries into the Creole elite of New Orleans. While her husband, Léonce, adores her, she does not truly love him and their relationship appears platonic. Robert, a young paramour, woos Edna and…show more content…


Robert presents himself as a solution to the lack of romantic love in Edna's life. A young, nice looking man, he spends his summer devoted to Edna. She likes his attention and his adoring manner draws her to him. As they spend more time together, he begins to sing her songs and recite romantic poetry. This romantic aspect fills a void in her life. "For the first time, she recognized the symptoms of infatuation which she had felt incipiently as a child, as a girl in her early teens, and later as a young woman" (45). Robert gives her the picture perfect, model, swept off her feet in love romance that she direly needs. However, he soon retires to Mexico for a business venture and leaves Edna to pine for him in his absence. While he is gone, Edna thinks constantly of Robert and begs Mademoiselle Reisz to allow her to read the letter Robert sends. Devastated, she finds no mention of her name in the letter. When Robert finally returns, he pays little attention to her and again departs, telling her he is leaving because he loves her. "She writhed with a jealous pang. She wondered when he would come back. He had not said he would come back. She had been with him, had heard his voice and touched his hand. But some way he had seemed neared to her off there in Mexico" (103). While Robert helped awaken Edna's sexuality, he left her again, and she now knew the true joys and pains of
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