The Awakening By Kate Chopin

1479 WordsDec 3, 20146 Pages
Kate Chopin’s controversial novel, The Awakening, ignited turmoil because of her blatant disregard of the established 19th century perspective of women upholding strictly maternal and matrimonial responsibilities. Edna’s candid exploration of the restrictions on women through her liberal behavior in a conservative Victorian society makes her a literary symbol for feminist ideals. Despite denunciation from other people, Edna chooses individuality over conformity through her veering from traditional obligations. Edna indulges in her love of art, which is considered to conflict with her expected singular devotion to her household. Exploring her sexuality rather than repressing any sexual awareness constructs her feministic mentality. Edna…show more content…
She raises her children with a distance between them. This void shows Edna’s lack of open wings, which is considered the norm of the 19th century expectations of women. Her newfound acceptance of neglecting her maternal responsibly ignited a much larger awakening within her. A sense of individuality and the “…realiz[ation of] her position in the universe as a human being, and ... her relations as an individual to the world within and about her” grew stronger (Chopin 15). She dislikes her role being entirely centered on domestic responsibilities so she begins to stretch the bindings of society. Edna’s indulgence in art exemplifies the importance she has placed on personal fulfillment, an attribute of feminist ideals. Edna characterizes herself as an artist. This demonstrates her desire to be set free from the familial expectations placed on her. Art represents a freedom of expression. Edna’s association with her artistic passion, not necessarily ability, foreshadows her desire to break free from society’s norms. Edna seeks the guidance of a liberated woman, Mademoiselle Reisz, who is the ideal feminist woman that Edna aspires to be. Reisz connects with her artistic hobbies through music. Her music inspires and provides her with the strength not to live under the maternal expectation. Edna enjoys painting although she does not consider
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