The Awakening Historicism Analysis

Decent Essays
A New Historicism Analysis of The Awakening
Kate Chopin’s The Awakening is a story written in the late 19th century about a woman named Edna becoming independent and finding herself in a time when women had little to no rights and people saw them as the property of their husband. This is a new historicism literary criticism, analyzing how what was going on in the time period influenced this novel. Racism, sexism, and feminism were all going on at this time and therefore influenced it greatly.
During this time period, people still owned slaves and racism was still going on. Growing up, Chopin’s family and friends had slaves. Later, her husband was even in a white supremacy group (“Kate Chopin”) . With such direct past ties to racism, it
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In this time period, women were basically the property of their husbands. Therefore, Edna represented these real-life limitations. Back then, a woman’s sole purpose was to get married and to care for her husband and children. This robbed them of a significant amount of individualism. For example, women weren’t seen to be strong enough to have free will and do things on their own. Chopin enjoyed walking through the city by herself, but society didn’t accept this at the time (“Kate Chopin”) .
Chopin commonly presented this principle throughout the novel. All women were chaperoned by men when leaving the house. In the beginning of the story, Edna never leaves the house without her husband Léonce, her friend Robert, or another man. Also, society discouraged women to live an independent lifestyle. It was very uncommon and shamed for women to fend for themselves, rather than relying on their husband. Edna demonstrated this by her reliance on her husband early in the novel. This brings up another example of history that is present in this story. Edna’s husband provides her a luxurious Creole lifestyle. This gives the reader a glimpse into social classes of the time. Lastly, women weren’t supposed to prioritize art above much, if anything, especially their family. Obviously, Chopin broke this rule, as she spent a significant amount of her time on performing arts, and her strongest form of art, writing (“Kate Chopin”) . Throughout the story, the lack of female artists and Edna’s
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