Freeaw Not Ready For Freedom In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

909 words - 4 pages

Not Ready for Freedom in The Awakening   

In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, the main character, Edna Pontellier makes a very long, painful journey into her inner self. At the end of this journey she discovers that she is not strong enough to adopt a life in which a woman is her own woman and lives for herself. This forces her to choose the only other option available to her.

I think the propriety with which Edna struggles (and most often gives in to) as she begins to discover who she is and what she wants creates a thick, almost suffocating atmosphere of tension. So much so that I was relieved that she decided to take her own life, as it had evolved into a torturous existence.

I thought it unfair that Edna was portrayed as a somewhat neglectful mother. It was clear that she adored her children, albeit a fondness that was in “...an uneven, impulsive way.” (p. 59)

It is important to focus on the time this story was written---the choices available to women in 1899 (the year The Awakening was printed) were extremely limited, and Edna Pontellier, all things considered, actually made a good life for herself, on the surface by making a marriage with Leonce. The material trappings in life that Leonce provided were comfortable, extravagant, actually, and the luxurious life of servants (quadroons), and more than one home appeared to be a life of perfection.

Buried within the text are a multitude of “hints,” “suggestions,” and in some cases blatant statements concerning the state of mind of Edna Pontellier. The reader is introduced to the possibility that Edna may have a healthy curiosity of the “absence of prudery” due to her fascination with the lives of Creole women. These women of French descent have far less misgivings concerning the intimate details of life. Their freedom of expression appeared at once exotic and enticing to Edna.

Edna has the “fortune” to be considered the “sole object” of her husband’s “existence.” This is at best confusing, since Mr. Pontellier spends the greater part of his time exiting: for work, Klein’s hotel, etc. It stands to reason that Edna would develop a resentment toward this man who claims to cherish her to the point of obsession, yet performs a ritual “leaving” as if it were second nature.It was interesting to note that Edna and Leonce had only been married six years---one usually perceives an “awakening” to occur in conjunction with a “mid-life” crisis of sorts, and Edna and Leonce were young, vibrant people with small children.

This story is set in New Orleans, Louisiana (and surrounding parishes), and although Louisiana is certainly...

Find Another Essay On freeaw Not Ready for Freedom in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

1887 words - 8 pages and devoted housewife. Although Edna's ultimate suicide is a waste of her struggles against an oppressive society, The Awakening supports and encourages feminism as a way for women to obtain sexual freedom, financial independence, and individual identity. Feminism is commonly thought of as a tool for educating society on the rights of women. It teaches that a woman is equal to a man in every civil and societal accord. Realizing this is not

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"

729 words - 3 pages realizes that everything around her is not what she wants to live with, and that she needs to withdraw immediately from their presence.An apparent social criticism in the novel The Awakening was the need for a role for each member in the family. The male figure in each family works to support his family. Mr. Pontellier constantly "[returns] to the city to his business." If he does not go to work, his children and wife will have few means for

Edna’s Search for Solitude in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1278 words - 5 pages Edna’s Search for Solitude in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Home from a summer at Grand Isle, separated from the company of an agreeable and, eventually beloved, companion and in the stifling company of a disagreeable, oblivious husband, Edna Pontellier sees her home, her garden, her fashionable neighborhood as "an alien world which had suddenly become antagonistic" (76). When she is left alone in the house, she thrills to the sensation of

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

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

Controversial Views in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1839 words - 7 pages Controversial Views in Kate Chopin's The Awakening "Too strong a drink for moral babies, and should be labeled `poison'." was the how the Republic described Kate Chopin's most famous novel The Awakening (Seyersted 174). This was not only the view of one magazine, but it summarized the feelings of society as a whole. Chopin woke up people to the feelings and minds of women. Even though her ideas were controversial at first, slowly over

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

Symbolism in Kate Chopin's "The Awakening"

1856 words - 7 pages Kate Chopin's The Awakening is a literary work full of symbolism. Birds, clothes, houses and other narrative elements are powerful symbols which add meaning to the novel and to the characters. I will analyze the most relevant symbols presented in Chopin's literary work.BIRDSThe images related to birds are the major symbolic images in the narrative from the very beginning of the novel:"A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the

Ambiguity in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

3630 words - 15 pages Ambiguity in The Awakening        Leonce Pontellier, the husband of Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin's The Awakening, becomes very perturbed when his wife, in the period of a few months, suddenly drops all of her responsibilities. After she admits that she has "let things go," he angrily asks, "on account of what?" Edna is unable to provide a definite answer, and says, "Oh! I don't know. Let me along; you bother me" (108). The uncertainty

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

Finding True Freedom In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1234 words - 5 pages Finding True Freedom in The Awakening  Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening details the endeavors of heroine Edna Pontellier to cope with the realization that she is not, nor can she ever be, the woman she wants to be. Edna has settled for less. She is married for all the wrong reasons, saddled with the burden of motherhood, and trapped by social roles that would never release her. The passage below is only one of the many tender and

Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

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 Essay

874 words - 3 pages of Chopin's 'The Awakening' not only helps the reader to understand the characters and their literary qualities, but the relevancy of these characters to problems plaguing society such as the feminist movement. Chopin's technique addresses' the problems of women as a whole while showing individual dilemmas faced by women in the 1900's. 'The Awakening' is effective in conveying these ideas and has successfully used style, tone, and content to prove these ideas.

Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" Essay

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