The Awakening By Kate Chopin

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Societal gender roles have traditionally confined women to only domestic duties like cooking, cleaning, and child care. However, some women feel trapped and long for more independence outside of the traditional aspects of womanhood and motherhood. Women who desire the traditional mother-woman lifestyle experience easy societal approval, but other women struggle to find independence and happiness because it goes against societal expectations and can be considered selfish. In The Awakening, Kate Chopin uses the contrasting views and actions surrounding motherhood of Adele Ratignolle and Edna Pontellier to show that women should have the right to choose their own destiny and lifestyle, not based on what society expects of them, but based on their own personal desires and requirements for self-fulfillment.
In The Awakening, Adele Ratignolle represents the traditional motherwoman of the late nineteenth century. Mother-women, “women who idolized their children, worshiped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels” (Chopin 8), surrounded Edna Pontellier during her family’s time in Grand Isle. There, Edna befriended a particular mother-woman named Adele, who has been married for seven years and has three children. Adele is a beautiful and exquisite woman, who enjoys playing with her children, pleasing her husband, and sewing and listening to music in her free time. She is adored by her husband and

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