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 piece of property. However, he expects her to be everything he thinks she should be. Her children also expect total sacrifice from her. She obviously feels unfulfilled in life and inadequate in many facets. She does not feel like an artist, she does not feel like a satisfied wife or mother.
Since she does not feel like she has an actual life, that is why it is easy to kill herself. It is at the end when she views the sea as the rolling,endless meadow that the sees a life without constrictions. She finally feels free and at peace.
The Awakening is an emotionally unsatisfying story. It is the story of a women, Edna, who tries unsuccessfully to find herself. It is ironic that her name, Pontellier means bridge. The last thing she is looking for is a bridge, which is one of the reasons she cannot and should not stayed married to Mr. Pontellier. He is a bridge, a bridge to social and cultural norms. He is a bridge to female repression in that era, and male domination. It is not that he is a “bad” character, he is just a represention of the typical man of that era. Conversely, through her “awakening”, Edna wishes to fly away from the bridges like a bird.
The images of the bird are important in the story. Edna is like the parrot in the beginning of the story, mimicking what society tells her. It is Mrs. Reisz that stresses the importance of what a strong bird she must be or become in order to defy societal confines. Mrs. Reisz checks Edna’s back to see if it is strong enough to hold such wings. It is also ironic that Robert is both the beginning and the end of this awakening or flight...