The Awakening by Edna Pontellier Essay

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“Whatever we may do or attempt, despite the embrace and transports of love, the hunger of lips, we are always alone” (Chopin 581.7). In Kate Chopin’s story The Awakening, not only is this the quote that Edna Pontellier identifies with when Mrs. Ratignolle plays piano for her, but it is also the perfect description of the struggle in which Mrs. Pontellier faces. Though, The Awakening was considered sexually charged and risqué for its time, when one analyzes this quote and the original title of Kate Chopin’s story, A Solitary Soul, they come to the realization that there is more to this story than just sex (562). The Awakening is a story about Edna Pontellier’s struggle to find acceptance and fulfillment in a society confined by gender…show more content…
She pales in comparison as a mother when set next to the other Creole women on Grand Isle. When the children of the other mothers need comfort, they run to their mother. However this is not the case for Mrs. Pontellier. When Edna’s children fall, rather than seeking comfort from their mother, they are more likely to instead get up and carry on playing (567). Try as she might, Edna is simply “not a mother-woman”, and finds no satisfaction in attempting to be one (567). Edna’s lack of belonging is not limited to inside her own house though. The largest aspect of life in which Edna fails to find belonging is in the Creole society. Edna is not Creole, but rather married into it. As she spends her summer immersed in this society, Edna begins to realize just how little she fits into it. The Creole women’s every waking thought was of their children, so much so that in the middle of summer, Mrs. Ratignolle is already sewing her children winter outfits. Edna, on the other hand, seems to rarely ever think of her children. The Creole women were also know to be very flirtatious, but in a way that was harmless and lacked meaning. Edna, being an outsider from Kentucky, did not understand the openness in which they expressed themselves. Some of the Creole women would talk in great detail of intimate events such as child birth, tell stories, and read books that all made Edna blush. Edna, being a solitary person, never really seemed to fit among the communal society
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