Awakened Isolation: A Feminist Analysis

589 words - 2 pages

In a society of assumed male superiority, countless awakened women have fought for equality, identity and value. In her novella, The Awakening, Kate Chopin paints the picture of a woman realizing the anguish she experiences towards the stereotype of the 1890?s ?mother-woman?, which she is expected to embody (51). As the work progresses, Edna, realizing her need for self expression and personal identity, abandons the social constraints to which she is expected to conform and joins the company of awakened women fighting to escape the clutches of their expected fates.Edna had always subsisted, recognizing her ?dual life?that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions? (57). Surrounded by images of ?mother-women? women who idolized their children, worshiped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels?, Edna assumed that, although she was an inquisitive individual inwardly, she was obligated to mimic the actions of the devout wife stereotype. Societal expectations forced Edna into the ?conforming outward existence? which she was forced to personify prior to her awakening. Although Edna is eventually awakened to the pitfalls of the ?colorless existence which never uplifted its possessor beyond the region of blind contentment? of mother-women, the inability for those surrounding her to be awakened, leads to Edna?s isolation and misery (107).Prior to her awakening, Edna allows herself to be viewed as property. Mrs. Pontellier returns from a midday swim and allows her husband to scold her as if she were a child for the sunburn she returned with. ??You are burnt beyond recognition?, he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has...

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