Divergence Between Passion And Duty Essay

878 words - 4 pages

In the nineteenth century, the genesis of the feminist movement was beginning to form in a society that granted so little opportunity to women. An early example of the radical values associated with this faction is illustrated in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, a novel that outlines one woman’s struggle to discover her own identity in a culture in which she is considered her husband’s “property” and a slave to her children. The conflict this woman, Edna Pontellier, faces stems from the newly blossoming feelings of freedom and passion for a close male companion that ultimately begin to clash with her duties as a submissive wife and mother. However, her “awakening” persuades her to create a new ...view middle of the document...

The independence from her husband’s demands and impertinence, which would usually fill the quietness in the room, grants Edna a sense of genuine comfort with another individual. Having discovered what kind of desire she has been missing for so many years, she must face the conflict that comes with pursuing this kind of relationship and maintaining her long-held reputation as a respected wife.
Upon returning to New Orleans and learning of Robert’s decision to start his career over in Mexico, the effects of the bond Edna formed with the younger man in Grand Isle begin to consume her sense of judgment. The societal requirements she once religiously observed start to go unfulfilled, to the displeasure of her husband. One specific obligation of a wealthy Creole woman is to entertain other ladies in her home on Tuesday afternoons. Upon being informed that Edna did not perform her duty as a host, Léonce Pontellier inquires if she left a justification for her absence. Expressing her defiance, Edna impudently declares, “‘I left no excuse. I told Joe to say I was out, that was all’” (Chopin 96). At this point, Edna is just beginning to view herself as independent of the cultural status that has always defined her. Additionally, she starts to perceive herself as a completely separate entity from her husband and his possessions. Making a daring move, Edna chooses to abandon her husband’s abode and live alone in a tiny cottage that she dubs the “pigeon house.” Her explanation for such a radical action is that “the house, the money that...

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