The Relationship Between Knowledge, Grief, and Empowerment

921 Words 4 Pages
The first chapter of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Bible, concludes with the words, “For in much wisdom is much grief, and increase of knowledge is increase of sorrow.” This quotation explains that the more you understand and discover about the world the more despondent you will become. In The Awakening, Kate Chopin shows that knowledge can cause grief while knowledge can also cause empowerment and self-fulfillment. In The Awakening, Kate Chopin demonstrates that enhancing an individual’s knowledge can also increase their grief and unhappiness. Edna Pontellier spends most of her summer at Grande Isle with Robert. Robert awakens the “symptoms of infatuation” that she had when she was a young woman. Edna states that her husband seemed …show more content…
During the summer, Edna acquires knowledge about herself and the world she lives in. She is overcome with grief and sorrow with her unfulfilled life. She realizes that she has become a slave for her children and her husband and does not want to live that way. She realizes that suicide is the only way to escape her “soul’s slavery”. On the other hand, Kate Chopin also exemplifies how knowledge can cause empowerment. Edna Pontellier undergoes a series of changes and “awakenings” throughout the novel. She discovers that she wants independence and freedom to make her own decisions and live her own life. She uses the knowledge she gains from herself to try fulfill her life and gain happiness within herself. Edna begins to paint again as a way to express herself. She ignores her maternal duties in order to paint. She also starts to disobey her husband and live life on her own terms. She “abandons her Tuesdays at home and did not return visits of those who called upon her.” Edna starts to leave the house without the consent of her husband. Edna also begins to sell her paintings to earn her own money. During this time period, women were expected to give all their possessions and money to their husbands. However, Edna uses her newly discovered independence to defy this expectation and ultimately purchases a house. Edna resents the fact that Leonce owns everything. She states that, “the house and the money that
Open Document