The Awakening Feminism Essay

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After reading The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, I believe the text is feminist. Whether Kate Chopin was deliberately writing for early feminists or not, the book has many early feminist ideas and it is shown through the main characters awakening by being eccentric. The author uses Edna Pontellier as an anti-conventional woman, breaking societal laws that govern her life, in search for individuality in a society that represses her. From a reader’s perspective in the early 1900’s, Edna would be a mentally ill woman who slowly loses her mind, but for a reader in the 21st century, we understand Edna to be a feminist seeking rights and individuality in a world that suppresses her. Edna Pontellier became a literary icon for feminist ideas in the…show more content…
Edna is searching for freedom from something detaining her from being her true self. As the story progresses, we start to see Edna questioning her position in the world and more specifically her own identity.
Edna had always questioned her duties as a mother. She did not idolize her children as women had done during the late 1800’s. Chopin introduces the reader to Madame Ratignolle, a contradictory character to Edna. She is depicted as the exemplary “mother-woman” who fits the norms of the Victorian Era. Chopin writes, “[The mother women] were 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” (9). The reader finds themselves questioning the differences between the two women and gradually seeing Edna’s awakening increase her neglect for her duties as a mother.
Chopin uses children
Edna began to neglect a lot of her obligations as a woman of the Victorian Era. During the 19th century, women were obligated to have what was called a reception day. For Edna, every Tuesday, she would need to be in her home, dressed properly, engaging with callers and visitors. Edna, instead of following the social norms, decided to use this time to work on her art. This would get a rise out of her husband. Leonce says to Edna, “’It seems to me the utmost folly for a woman at the head of a
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