She leaves the care of her children to her grandmother, abandoning them and her husband when she leaves to live in the pigeon-house. To her, leaving her old home with Léonce is very important to her freedom. Almost everything in their house belonged to him, so even if he were to leave, she would still feel surrounded by his possessions. She never fully becomes free of him until she physically leaves the house. That way, Edna has no ties whatsoever to that man. Furthermore, Edna indulges in more humanistic things such as art and music. She listens to Mademoiselle Reisz’s playing of the piano and feels the music resonate throughout her body and soul, and uses it as a form of escapism from the world. Based on these instances, Edna acts almost like a very young child, completely disregarding consequences and thinking only about what they want to do experience most at that moment. However, to the reader this does not necessarily appear “bad”, but rather it is seen from the perspective of a person who has been controlled by others their entire life and wishes to break free from their grasp. In a way, she is enacting a childlike and subconscious form of revenge by disobeying all known social constructs of how a woman should talk, walk, act, and interact with others.
Illogical, submissive, and sensual are some of the words used to describe the view of women during the nineteenth century. In the novel The Awakening, Kate Chopin tells the controversial story of a woman, Edna Pontellier, and her spiritual growing. Throughout the story, Edna constantly battles between her heart’s desires and society’s standard. The novel shows how two women’s lives influence Edna throughout the novel. Mademoiselle Reisz and Madame Ratignolle are both in their own way strong, motherly influences in Edna’s life. Mademoiselle Reisz is Edna the mother who wants Edna to pursue her heart’s desires. Madame Ratignolle however, is the type of mother to Edna who wants Edna to do what is socially right. The way the two live
At first, she is struck by the epitome of Creole wife that is Adele Ratignolle. Adele Ratignolle was widely considered “the embodiment of every womanly grace and charm” with “spun-gold hair...blue eyes...like nothing but sapphires...and lips like crimson fruit” (Chopin, 12). Golden hair, sapphires and crimson fruit are all products that can be owned and by using such words, Chopin is making a statement about the relationship between Adele and her husband: she is a commodity he owns. Adele is also described as being a talented pianist, yet even this is “on account of the children...because she and her husband both considered it a means of brightening the home and making it attractive” (Chopin, 27). Again, the characterization of Adele remains of the physical, the visual, the superficial through the diction of “brightening” and “attractive”. The fact that her opinion is lumped with her husband’s is also an important detail as through this passage. Chopin is demonstrating that Adele has a singular identity––as wife to a Creole––with a singular source of happiness––stemming from her children––and that if Edna were to choose this path, she would be expected to do the
Edna’s artistic pursuits are very different than Madame Ratignolle’s. Edna’s art represents her quest for individuality (Boren 181). Her form of art does not provide pleasure or enrichment to her household. Instead, it takes her away from her family and her domestic duties (Dyer 87). Edna paints in her “atelier” (Chopin 579). Mr. Pontellier chides Edna for spending too much time in her atelier; he says that she would “be better employed contriving for the comfort of her family” (Chopin (579). Edna makes good progress in her painting; she dreams of “becoming an artist” (Chopin 584). However, her devotion to art is contrasted to that of novel’s true artist.
Chopin uses the first hand description of Adele from Edna as a literary comparison to previous descriptions of Adele, allowing insight into Edna’s own perceptions and changing world view.
Edna Pontellier was a very respectable woman from the 1800's that was unsatisfied with her situation in life. Mrs. Pontellier was a mother of two sons and had a husband whom she adored at the beginning of their marriage, but overtime they have became distant and her sexual desires were no longer being fulfilled. She soon broke the role society had casted upon her and became rebellious by leaving her womanly duties behind. Kate Chopin reveals Edna Pontellier's character through the her actions, through dialogue, and by telling the reader the thoughts and feelings that are circulation through Mrs. Pontellier.
The theme of The Awakening is centered on Edna’s journey of individual identification and independence. Chopin condemns gender roles and pleads to the public to look at women as equals and not just commodities to be married off. Women should have all the
Through the story Edna becomes more and more uneasy about not being able to do and have what she really wants. This can be shown from the beginning when she lets her children play by themselves and doesn’t miss her husband when he is away from home. Edna tried to be a good mother by becoming friends with an old fashioned woman, Madame Adèle Ratignolle, who devoted her life to her husband and children. However, when Edna was not around Madame Adèle Ratignolle, she forgot how to be like Adèle Ratignolle and instead busied herself with what was considered to be her “childish ways”. She would try to make herself as happy as possible; she was not her happiest with her husband and kids. When Edna discovered her passion for art, she embraced it and neglected her family even more so than before.
In the iconic debated novel “The Awakening”, Kate Chopin’s novel takes place in the Victorian Era, which is in the 19th- century, similarly the novel was published in 1899. Edna is depicted as a woman longing for more, a woman who was looking for more than just a life of complacency and living in the eyes of society. The story uses Edna to exemplify the expectations of women during this era. For example, a woman’s expression of independence was considered immoral. Edna was expected to conform to the expectations of society but the story reveals Edna’s desires which longed for independence in a state of societal dominance. Throughout The Awakening, Chopin’s most significant symbol,
In Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening a wife and a mother of two, Edna Pontellier, discovers her desires as a woman to live life to the fullest extent and to find her true self. Eventually, her discovery leads to friction between friends, family, and the dominant values of society. Through Chopin's use of Author’s craft and literary elements, the readers have a clear comprehension as to what the author is conveying.
To what extent does Edna Pontellier, in Kate Chopin's The Awakening, mark a departure from the female characters of earlier nineteenth-century American novels
The Awakening by Kate Chopin introduces the reader to the life of Edna Pontellier, a woman with an independent nature searching for her true identity in a patriarchal society that expects women to be nothing more than devoted wives and nurturing mothers.
One theme apparent in Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, is the consequence of solitude when independence is chosen over conformity. The novel's protagonist, Edna Pontellier, is faced with this consequence after she embarks on a journey of self-discovery. "As Edna's ability to express herself grows, the number of people who can understand her newfound language shrinks" (Ward 3). Edna's awakening from a conforming, Victorian wife and mother, into an emotional and sexual woman takes place through the use of self-expression in three forms: emotional language, art, and physical passion.
Kate Chopin’s controversial novel, The Awakening, ignited turmoil because of her blatant disregard of the established 19th century perspective of women upholding strictly maternal and matrimonial responsibilities. Edna’s candid exploration of the restrictions on women through her liberal behavior in a conservative Victorian society makes her a literary symbol for feminist ideals. Despite denunciation from other people, Edna chooses individuality over conformity through her veering from traditional obligations. Edna indulges in her love of art, which is considered to conflict with her expected singular devotion to her household. Exploring her sexuality rather than repressing any sexual awareness constructs her feministic mentality.
In several instances, she casually slips in French phrases and words. For example, the characters are referred to by social titles and not first names such as Madame Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz. The central issue and theme is Edna's struggle with being the ideal, cookie cutter doting wife. She finds it hard to be as domestic and submissive as the women who were raised in a Creole household and community. She attempts to be a 'mother-wife" like the other women and ultimately ends up taking her own life because she despises it so much. Even though this work was published in 1899 it is still relevant today. Chopin's stories go hand in hand with modern feminism and the stigma that marriage is the ultimate goal.