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Straying from the Tradtional Creole Lifestyle in The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

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The Creole society demands high moral and a traditional lifestyle from the women in The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. Edna Pontillier, the main character, enters a rebellious state of mind as she explores the awakening the other characters influence. The other characters in The Awakening create Edna by influencing her decisions, independence, and sexual desires throughout the story. Mademoiselle Reisz, Robert, and Alcee Arobin challenge Edna to fly above the Creole traditions and become more in-touch with her sexuality, and encourage her to be an independent woman while Edna’s husband, Leonce, Madame Ratignolle, and Edna’s father conflict with Edna because they want her to be a traditional Creole wife and mother to her children and try to…show more content…
Edna’s husband, Leonce Pontillier, becomes aware that she is not the woman he married when she begins to argue with him about her duties as a wife and a mother. “He could see plainly that she was not herself. That is, he could not see that she was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world (Chopin 96).” Leonce acts as a benchmark throughout the novel reminding Edna that she is bound to her family and makes her feel trapped. He is her reality check. Edna acknowledges that she is a poor mother and wife since she does not fit in with the traditions of the Creole society. When Edna’s father comes to visit, he is disappointed that Edna is not living up to Leonce’s expectations since she is not actually from a different lifestyle. He mentions that she might just be different than other women and directs Leonce to be more strict with her saying, “Put your foot down good and hard; the only way to manage a wife (Chopin 119).” Edna tries hard to entertain her father during his stay to prove to him that she can live in the traditional society, though she is happy when he leaves. Edna’s father conflicts with her views of her life which compels her to act more traditional when he visits. Alcee Arobin is the man that all the women wish they had. He knows how to flatter the women, especially Edna. Arobin
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