The Awakening: Women's Role in Society

1547 Words7 Pages
Have you ever wondered what the lifestyles of Nineteenth Century women were like? Were they independent, career women or were they typical housewives that cooked, clean, watched the children, and catered to their husbands. Did the women of this era express themselves freely or did they just do what society expected of them? Kate Chopin was a female author who wrote several stories and two novels about women. One of her renowned works of art is The Awakening. This novel created great controversy and received negative criticism from literary critics due to Chopin's portrayal of women by Edna throughout the book. The Awakening is a novel about a woman, Edna Pontellier, who is a confused soul. She is a typical housewife that is looking to…show more content…
Adele is a mother-woman that lives for her children and Reisz despises children. Edna does love her children but she can't express her true identity. In the Creole society, "mother-women idolized their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels." (Justus, 109) Edna Pontellier was dissatisfied with the life of a mother-woman because she couldn't release her true identity. Neither friends nor lovers could help her release her identity as a free woman. The tragedy within the book that James Justus likes to point out is that despite her emotional changes Edna cannot release her identity. As a result, she commits suicide. From a different aspect, Kenneth Eble explores and examines the tragedy of Edna's suicide. In his article, Eble starts off by first saying that the novel is about sex. Then he refers to Chopin's biographer, Daniel Rankin and argues what Rankin believes about the novel. According to Eble, Daniel Rankin called The Awakening "exotic in setting, morbid in theme, erotic in motivation." He refers to Edna as a "selfish, capricious" woman. Eble thinks otherwise. Kenneth Eble emphasized that Edna is not deluded by the ideas of romance, nor is she the sensuous but guilt-ridden woman of the novel. Eble concludes that Edna's struggle for her identity and her
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