The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

785 Words Jul 15th, 2018 4 Pages
The Awakening is set in 1899, a time when the Industrial Revolution and the women's movement were just beginning , conversely, still overshadowed by the attitudes of society in the 19th century. Kate Chopin's idea that a woman’s needs were important was somewhat radical, especially since women were not considered to be independent, and women’s rights were still being fought for. Edna's major conflict is her need for independence and personal fulfillment while still trying to conform to her traditional upbringing. Edna is expected to be a perfect wife and mother, both while vacationing on Grand Isle and living in New Orleans. She is to be the social hostess , wife and mother, all the while keeping house, maintaining order with the …show more content…
Edna's children are to be her true companion, above anything else she could ever conceive of doing. Her social duties and pleasures must come second to her responsibilities as a mother. A perfect example of this is when Leonce came home from an evening at the men's club and after checking on the sleeping children. Leonce came back to the bedroom where Edna was sleeping and stated to her that one of the boys had a fever. Edna did not immediately jump up to check on the boy, and even debated with her husband. Leonce "reproached his wife for her inattention, [and ] her habitual neglect of the children". He went on to state, "If it was not a mother's place to look after [the] children, whose on earth was it?" Edna is expected to be chaste, forthright and behave in an reserved manner. She is to conduct herself and dress herself [and the children]according to custom. Many times throughout my reading I noticed that she "dressed for an early dinner" or the children were properly groomed, "since it seemed to be a law of society that hair must be parted and brushed". These restrictions were very troubling for Edna since at heart she was a free spirit. During Edna's time on Grand Isle she learns about freedom of expression from Adele, which ultimately leads Edna to reject the subservient life she is living. Edna wants to be liberated from her previously formal behavior and her repressed emotions and desires. From her friendship with Adele she