The Awakening by Kate Chopin Essay

514 Words 3 Pages
Kate Chopin novel The Awakening is set in the late nineteenth century on the Grand Isle. The novel centers on Edna Pontellier a woman who is becoming sexually aware of herself and trying to gain her independence. Throughout the novel, she drives to meet her views on motherhood and femininity from the social attitudes of the South towards women; women were nothing but property. In the novel, Edna tries to seek her individuality from the constraints of society, but finds her journey impeded by her inability to transcend society; this delineated by her search for self, her choices, and her consequences.
In The Awakening, Edna experiences a “. . . spiritual and physical awakening [that] heralds her search for self” (“Themes”); she tries unchaining herself from society’s ideals of women by being her own person and searching for the self she has since suppressed. In search for that self, Edna “first tries out her assertive self by refusing to have sexual relations with her husband” (“Themes”) and according to Kate Chopin, exercises openly defying his commands (52). Her assertiveness gives her the confidence to be herself and it rekindles her pursuit of art. In this, she unleashes her “creative self” (“Themes”). However, Edna’s desire to be an artist is cautioned by Mademoiselle Reisz, stating that an artist must possess “a courageous soul . . . that dares and defies” society. As her awakening progresses, “she tries to define her relative self by considering her feelings about…