The Awakening By Kate Chopin

1848 Words8 Pages
Edna, the protagonist in Kate Chopin’s novella The Awakening, experiences a transformative internal “awakening”, brought about by a realization of her own romantic feelings toward the young Robert Lebrun. The development of her attraction toward Robert and of their love for each other rouses Edna’s long-repressed sexuality; and her desire to be with Robert makes her realize how unfulfilling she finds both her marriage and her life, impelling her to take steps to shirk the confines and regulations of conventional society and pursue her own contentment and free expression. These steps include her forfeit of her social status, her rejection of her husband and the life he had provided her, her detachment from her children, and culminates with…show more content…
Up until the summer she met Robert, however, she had forced herself to repress and conceal these aspects of her existence which opposed the status quo, maintaining "the dual life- the outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions.” (13) This "dual life" is very different from the life she leads after she "awakens", finally relieving herself of the expectations and responsibilities society had thrust upon her, doing as she pleases, loosening “the mantle of reserve that had always enveloped her,” and consequently making her inner self and her outer self one. (13-14) The significance of this union is that in the process of this ‘awakening”- the realization of her individuality and identity, Edna truly recognizes what she values most: her independence in all senses of the word; sexual and emotional freedom, freedom to pursue her own passions, financial freedom, and freedom from her marriage and children, as well as from the repressive, patriarchal, and rigid society they represent.
The first display of Edna’s opposition toward conformity and her desire to lead a
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