An Analysis Of Escape In A Doll’s House And The Awakening

2070 words - 9 pages

In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, the works represent the unyielding social standards pressurized onto women and how they negatively affect the female protagonists. It is also shown how the women are able to triumph over the social standards and reach towards a life of greater satisfaction as individual women. While finding themselves, they also look for an outlet, an escape. The two women achieve the ultimate goal of absconding the pressures of society and domestic life by finding an escape route through abandonment, and death.
Attempting to escape the conformist standards of society while trying to create an identity for oneself is a struggle faced in ...view middle of the document...

During this time, this lifestyle was completely unheard of. Edna looks at women like Madame Ratignolle, the woman she is expected to be,”These women, such as her friend Madame Ratignolle, care very deeply for their children and focus on doing things that are socially acceptable for women to be doing. She sees that her own behavior is different from the behavior from “mother women,” but she does not completely understand why” (Encyclopedia of Themes in Literature, Jennifer McClinton-Temple, 282). At first, Edna is trapped, living in a cage, where her role in society is to be a mother and a wife. Her husband, Leonce believes that Edna’s role is to look after the children: He approached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children. It was his notion that it was the mother’s duty to care for the children. Nevertheless, Edna does not suit the role as a mother- Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman. The mother-women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle. Unlike Edna, the women extended, protecting wings when any harm, endangered their precious blood. She experiments with her own sexual desires and her obligatory female social roles; a woman who these desires to stray from the norm, and to become her own person, were brought about and 'awakened' by Mrs. Pontellier's interest in art; in fact, Edna's experimentation with art directly corresponds to her lifestyle and sexual experimentation. The changes in the novel connect to the confusion her role as a female artist has created, including her opinions of the people around her and her ignited romantic desires. Edna is always a little confused when she is around such women. Robert represents the sexual awakening Edna experiences, as well as the passionate part of her, yearning for affection her husband cannot give her. The “voice of the sea,” is referenced many times throughout the book, and it embodies the liberated life Edna desires for, calling to her. She arises by the ocean, and ends in the ocean. Throughout the novel, Edna even recognizes those around her, the “unawakened” people, as “half-humans” (Chopin, 39). Nevertheless, the longing for independence becomes so immense that Edna cannot tolerate it any longer, and it poisons her, alas taking her life; with this ultimate scene, the question arises, is there a time when there is such a thing as too much freedom?
While Edna finds herself caught up in a summer romance, hidden from her husband, Nora’s struggle comes about from sincerely trying to help her husband, by going behind his back. She attempts to be a magnificent mother and wife, wholly committed to her family and their well-being. Nora and Torvald's relationship, while seemingly pleasant on the outside, is only that; it lacks depth and an understanding of one another. Rather, they teeter on the surface, acting as if in a play to fulfill society's expectations of a married couple. Nora and Torvald's interactions reveal the complexity of relationships. The couple’s...

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