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Critical Analysis Of “The Awakening”

1231 words - 5 pages

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Critical Analysis of "The Awakening"Mariusz PerkowskiUniversity of PhoenixCritical Analysis of "The Awakening"The Awakening by Kate Chopin demonstrates life dilemmas of women during the late nineteenth century. Period of time in the history that has many similarities to the position of women is society these days. While in our culture we have taken big steps toward changing the stereotypes, there is still a large groupe of people that believe a woman's place is in the home, taking care of her children and pleasing her husband. These beliefs are at the core of inequality both then and now. The main character lives through inequality having options available to her, but she always had to consider what those choices and speaking about them openly will do to her socially.The novel "The Awakening" focuses on Edna Pontellier, the twenty-eight year-old women struggling with the constraints that society has placed on her. The novel shows Edna's gender construction by the society that she lives in, based on Chopin's portrayal of her in the novel trying to obtain independence and control over her life in a society where she is expected to have none. Women like this are looked upon badly in a society that expects a woman to be a good mother and wife, nothing more or less. When she breaks these rules her husband thinks that she might have a mental illness, but Chopin in the novel points out that what he doesn't realize is that "Edna was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world".Edna is not striving towards the equality of genders, but rather with her own sexuality, and the problems that she faces in society because of that sexuality (Walker 1979). Sexuality is natural because it deals with feelings that we cannot control. These feelings come naturally to all human beings and are very hard to repress. Gender is created by society. Society imposes rules on women that tell them what acceptable behavior is. These rules are passed down through generations and take a long time to significantly change.The representation of women in this novel seems to be true to the gender roles of the late nineteenth century. It was believed that men should be in the workplace and women in marriage having and tending to children, and also obeying her husbands every command (Brown 1999). Obedience wasn't even questioned by the women of this time. Women were prepared to assume these roles from the time they were born. Almost like learning to walk, young girls were taught the importance of growing into a socially acceptable woman. During this time period, a woman's worth was measured by the devotion to her family and her cordiality in performing social duties, whereas a man's worth was measured by the amount of authority he held over his household (Brown 1999).It wasn't acceptable that she just went out for a walk and didn't feel like...

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