themeaw Themes and Fate in The Awakening and Madame Bovary Essay

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Themes and Fate in The Awakening and Madame Bovary Kate Chopin's The Awakening and Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary are both tales of women indignant with their domestic situations; the distinct differences between the two books can be found in the authors' unique tones. Both authors weave similar themes into their writings such as, the escape from the monotony of domestic life, dissatisfaction with marital expectations and suicide. References to "fate" abound throughout both works. In The Awakening, Chopin uses fate to represent the expectations of Edna Pontellier's aristocratic society. Flaubert uses "fate" to portray his characters' compulsive methods of dealing with their guilt and rejecting of personal…show more content…
Simultaneously, Mademoiselle Reisz, who "...sent a keen tremor down Mrs. Pontellier's spinal column..." which perhaps is the tremor that marks the beginning of Edna's self discovery. "A certain light was beginning to dawn dimly within her, - the light which, showing the way, forbids it." (P 13 : The Awakening) As she explores her world, other men, swimming, and her other romantic pursuits, she experiences her epiphany; she finds that the world has much to offer and kills herself in the lamentation of that which she cannot truly have. Edna finds herself filled with "An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness...She did not sit there inwardly upbraiding her husband, lamenting at Fate, which had directed her footsteps to the path which they had taken." (P 6 : The Awakening) Edna takes an active part in finding happiness within her world. She pursues her swimming and other men in the interest of ending the monotony she lives with as a result of her being confined into her aristocratic society. Emma Bovary, being both protagonist and antagonist, by contrast experiences her epiphany solely at death. She takes the arsenic when she realizes all that she will not get from what she already has. Her light of discovery is found only in the darkness of her death. She

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