Edna Pontellier’s Fall From Grace In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

2029 words - 8 pages

Edna’s Fall from Grace in The Awakening

    In the novel The Awakening, Kate Chopin tells of Edna Pontellier's struggle with fate. Edna Pontellier awakens from a slumber only to find that her life is displeasing, but these displeasing thoughts are not new to Edna. The actions taken by Edna Pontellier in the novel The Awakening clearly determine that she is not stable. The neglect of her duties as a wife and mother and as a woman of society are all affected by her mental state. Her choices to have affairs and disregard her vow of marriage represent her impaired judgment. The change in her attitude and interests becomes quite irresponsible, and that change along with her final decision to commit suicide tell the reader that Edna Pontellier is not capable of making valid judgments. Had Edna Pontellier been of sound mind and body, she would not have ended her young life by suicide. The fact that she can clearly and easily turn to such an alternative suggests that she is depressed and obviously in opposition to the church. The thoughts and actions of Edna Pontellier are solely determined by her manic depressive state, her apparent repressed abuse from her childhood, and her abandonment of Christianity.


Throughout the novel the reader gets a clear sense of Edna Pontellier's peculiar mind and her manic depressive state. She is continually plagued by the moment. Her mood shifts from highs to lows show the reader that a sadness is perpetually within her:


We are told there are days when she "was happy to be alive and breathing, when her whole being seemed to be one with sunlight.." On such days Edna "found it good to be alone and unmolested." Yet on other days, she is molested by despondencies so severe that "it did not seem worthwhile to be alive or dead; when life appeared to her like a grotesque pandemonium and humanity like worms struggling towards inevitable annihilation." (Platizky 100)


When she chooses such a selfish path, she casts her depression upon the members of her family and her friends. Her disposition clearly affects their lives on a regular basis. Edna Pontellier defies her husband and is ready to depart from her children at any time. Counseling of some sort for her temperament might encourage her to put her family's needs before herself. She constantly enjoys her freedom and abandons her responsibilities, displaying a childlike ideal of reality. Edna frequently likes to be alone throughout the novel. She mentions feeling caged and sets out to free herself by moving to another house, when, contrary to her immature thoughts, she is still very much in the same predicament. These actions do not help Edna to better her condition. The lows manic depressives experience can be detrimental, and by placing herself in an isolated atmosphere, she is making her problem greater:


But alone Edna is prey to suicidal thoughts, the voices which distort the victim's choices and exaggerate her plight. Edna's...

Find Another Essay On Edna Pontellier’s Fall from Grace in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

874 words - 3 pages of self-discovery throughout the entire novel of Kate Chopin's 'The Awakening. Within Edna's travel through self discovery, Chopin successfully uses tone, style, and content to help the reader understand a person challenging the beliefs of a naïve society at the beginning of the twentieth century. Chopin's style and tone essentially helps the reader understand the character of Edna and what her surrounding influences are. The tone and style

Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

1386 words - 6 pages Kate Chopin's The Awakening Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening expresses the difficulty of finding a woman’s place in society. Edna learns of new ideas such as freedom and independence while vacationing in Grand Isle. Faced with a choice to conform to society’s expectations or to obey personal desires for independence, Edna Pontellier realizes that either option will result in dissatisfaction. Thus, Edna’s awakening in Grand Isle leads to

Kate Chopin's "The Awakening"

2380 words - 10 pages of the book dropped quite a bit. Kate Chopin ended up getting just under $50 in Royalties for her book. It truly was not the time for a piece of writing like this to be published.Kate Chopin's novel is filled with feminist ideology and the roles of women. Edna's death is a tragic loss however the effort Chopin's main character takes to obtain her own individuality is the principle message of The Awakening. Chopin makes Edna to fly well beyond

Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1492 words - 6 pages Kate Chopin's The Awakening In Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening, written approximately one hundred years ago, the protagonist Edna Pontellier's fate is resolved when she 'deliberately swims out to her death in the gulf'(Public Opinion, np). Her own suicide is indeed considered as a small, almost nonexistent victory by many, nevertheless there are those who consider her death anything but insignificant. Taking into consideration that

Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1887 words - 8 pages During the late nineteenth century, the time of protagonist Edna Pontellier, a woman's place in society was confined to worshipping her children and submitting to her husband. Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, encompasses the frustrations and the triumphs in a woman's life as she attempts to cope with these strict cultural demands. Defying the stereotype of a "mother-woman," Edna battles the pressures of 1899 that command her to be a subdued

Kate chopin's "The Awakening"

729 words - 3 pages The Unjustness of SocietyIn the 19th century, people in the society were expected to fulfill their role. The book delineates the injustices of society, like that of a sociological novel. Set in Creole society in the late 1800s, The Awakening as depicted by kate chopin vindicates the period by suggesting to the audience the stereotypical nature of the characters.Chopin implies that women's divergence forces society to ostracize them from other

Controversial Views in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1839 words - 7 pages the sixties Chopin's popularity grew thanks to the feminists. They looked toward Edna as a heroine out of her time for her sexual awakening. This does not mean that Chopin was a feminist. Chopin wrote objectively and distanced herself from feminist struggles. Felix Chopin stressed that she "was not interested in the woman's suffrage movement" (Taylor 151). Anne Jones disagreed saying that Chopin "was fully conscious of the implicit

Controversial Views in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1273 words - 5 pages The Controversial Views in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Kate Chopin's The Awakening is truly a novel that stands out from the rest. From the moment it was published, it has been caused women to examine their beliefs. The fact that The Awakening was shunned when first published, yet now taught in classrooms across the country is proof that The Awakening is full of rebellious and controversial ideas. One of the main

Symbolism in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1501 words - 6 pages Symbolism in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Chopin's The Awakening is full of symbolism.  Rather than hit the reader on the head with blunt literalism, Chopin uses symbols to relay subtle ideas.  Within each narrative segment, Chopin provides a symbol that the reader must fully understand in order to appreciate the novel as a whole.  I will attempt to dissect some of the major symbols and give possible explanations as to their importance

Edna's Suicide in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

939 words - 4 pages Edna's Suicide in Kate Chopin's The Awakening At the end of Kate Chopin's novel „The Awakening" the protagonist Edna commits suicide. The remaining question for the reader is: Does Edna's suicide show that she succeeded or failed in her struggle for independence? Edna's new life in independency seems to be going well especially after Robert had returned from Mexico. The lover, who she met during her vacation at Grand Isle, told her that

Edna’s Choice in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1700 words - 7 pages Edna’s Choice in Kate Chopin's The Awakening The text of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening often makes Edna Pontellier appear selfish and unfeeling, especially towards her children. Chopin does, however, allow for the possibility that Edna’s final act may be one of unselfish love for her children. It is Edna’s inability to assume the role society has chosen for her that leads her to act as she does. Edna really had no other choice in the end

Similar Essays

Edna Pontellier’s Search For Independence In Chopin's The Awakening

2692 words - 11 pages beings into one has been accomplished on this sphere it was surely in their union" (511).  Quinn further claims that after viewing this ideal marriage, Edna knows instantly that she is not made to fit into a wives' expected role (1).  Quinn's claim is supported by the following quote from The Awakening: "Edna felt depressed rather than soothed after leaving them.  The little glimpse of domestic harmony which had been offered her, gave her no regret

Edna Pontellier's Suicide In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1569 words - 6 pages "awakening". Kate Chopin chooses to have Edna take a "final swim" as evidence of her absolute defeat as an insightful study of the limitations that prevent any woman from achieving the ultimate goal of self-actualization. Simply put, Edna's awakening leads to her suicide. Newly aware of the meanings her life could take on, the awakened part of herself presents Edna with a command to take action. When Edna is unable to

Growaw Epiphany Of Edna Pontellier In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

828 words - 3 pages The Epiphany in The Awakening       Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, presents the struggle of an American woman at the turn of the century to find her own identity.  At the beginning of the novel, the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, seems to define her identity in terms of being a wife, a mother and a member of her community.  As the story progresses, Edna seeks to define herself as an individual.  The turning point in her struggle can be

Growaw Unfulfilled Edna Pontellier Of Kate Chopin's The Awakening

771 words - 3 pages Unfulfilled Edna of The Awakening   As evidenced in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and other novels of the 1800’s, women writers of this period seem to feel very repressed. Leonce Pontellier seemed to be fond of his wife, and treated her as one would treat a loved pet. In the beginning of the story it describes him as looking at her as a “valuable piece of personal property”. He does not value her fully as a human being more as a