Individualism In Kate Chopin´S The Awakening

1780 words - 7 pages

Kate Chopin’s The Awakening is about the slow awakening of Edna Pontellier, a young married woman who pursues her own happiness of individualism and sexual desires in a Victorian society. As a result, Edna tries to makes changes in her life, such as neglecting her duties as a “mother-woman” and moving into her own home. But she soon realizes that nothing can change for the better. Feeling completely hopeless, Edna chose to die as a final escape from the oppression of the Victorian society she lives in. Back at the beach at Grand Isle, Edna walks along the beach and watches a bird with a broken wing crashing down into the waves right before her eyes. She then removes her clothes before entering the water. Edna swims out and embraces the waves of the ocean while thinking about her husband, Leonce, her two children, Robert, Mademoiselle Reisz, and finally her childhood before surrendering her life to the ocean. In looking at Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Edna Pontellier’s impulsive action to be naked, the image of the bird, and the ocean helped her realize that she is overwhelmed by her new power of the independent life she now leads, which ultimately caused her to commit suicide by drowning in the ocean.
Edna Pontellier’s impulsive action to be naked upon entering the water in the end of novel helped her realize that she cannot handle her new independent life, which caused her to drown herself. By taking off her clothes, she seems to make a statement that wearing clothes are like giving in to the bonds of social conventions. So when she took them off,
“But when she was there beside the sea, absolutely alone, she cast the unpleasant, pricking garments from her, and for the first time in her life she stood naked in the open air, at the mercy of the sun, the breeze that beat upon her, and the waves that invited her…She felt like some new-born creature, opening its eyes in a familiar world that it had never known” (Chopin 109).

Once her clothes are off, there are no restrictions against her for the first time in a long time; she feels free and peaceful at last. Also, clothes illustrate the rules and conventions of society. One’s appearance shows what kind of class one is in and they must act accordingly. So, being a married to a traditional Creole man, Edna had to act like a graceful and sophisticated “mother-woman”, a woman who is obedient to her husband and a great mother, never expected to pursue her own dreams and happiness. This oppression of social expectations is what led her to be naked and thus her suicide. This nakedness focuses on the idea of rebirth; the clothes she had on in the beginning of the novel is what defined her, but now, with nothing on, her body and soul exposes her true self as an individual.
Another depiction of nakedness is when Madame Adele Ratignolle played a piano piece that Edna entitled “Solitude”. While hearing the music, Edna imagined a “figure of a man standing beside a desolate rock on the...

Find Another Essay On Individualism In Kate Chopin´s The Awakening

The Awakening by Kate Chopin Essay

5354 words - 21 pages , swimming her way to the only answer she knew to her inner desire for independence --death. In her novel, The Awakening, Kate Chopin shows Edna Pontellier?s confrontations with society, her imprisonment in marriage and Edna?s exploration of her own sexuality. Chopin also portrays Edna as a rebel, who after her experiences at Grand Isle wants to live a full and a free life and not to follow the rules of society. Edna?s life ends in her suicide

The Awakening by Kate Chopin Essay

1107 words - 4 pages Edna Pontellier, the protagonist of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (1899) who would not allow anyone to possess her, is an example of how the cult of domesticity, prevalent in the nineteenth century, oppressed women as passionless mothers who worship their husbands. While Edna isolates herself from her husband, Leonce, she also isolates herself from her children and, thus, from motherhood. However, Chopin utilizes the motherhood metaphor to

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

1910 words - 8 pages house while she left to attend Adèle’s childbirth. When she returned, Robert had left her only with a farewell note that led Edna in her final stages of awakening: solitude. Realizing her inability to escape limitations of society, she swam into the Gulf naked where she took her final breath. Kate Chopin illustrates in The Awakening the life of Edna Pontellier as she struggles with society’s female oppression in aspects of identity and motherly

The Awakening by Kate Chopin - 585 words

585 words - 2 pages Public ControversyThe Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, was a book that was truly aheadof its time. The author of the book was truly a genius in her right, but yet she wasseen as a scoundrel. At the time, it was 'a world that values only her performanceas a mother, whose highest expectations for women are self sacrifice and self-effacement.' ( ? ) The people of that era were not ready to admit or accept thesimple but hidden feelings of intimacy

The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

1585 words - 6 pages Illogical, submissive, and sensual are some of the words used to describe the view of women during the nineteenth century. In the novel The Awakening, Kate Chopin tells the controversial story of a woman, Edna Pontellier, and her spiritual growing. Throughout the story, Edna constantly battles between her heart’s desires and society’s standard. The novel shows how two women’s lives influence Edna throughout the novel. Mademoiselle Reisz and

The Awakening by Kate Chopin - 1339 words

1339 words - 5 pages Among many poignant lines, Robert Frost stated that “freedom lies in being bold.” Tess Durbeyfield and Edna Pontellier are testaments to the veracity of this quote as both find their independence by boldly exceeding the norm. Their stories were fashioned during a period of great change and both characters are hallmarks of the hope and power women were unearthing at the time. The Awakening by Kate Chopin and Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas

The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

1634 words - 7 pages can be looked upon as the beginning of her journey to self-discovery and the final re-birth for a life unfulfilled on this earth. Originally published in 1899, The Awakening was written by Karen Chopin who some describe as a feminist before her time. The Victorian era was a time period in which women were seen and not heard, which made it hard for the publication of this book since it was about a woman that cheated on her husband, always left

The Awakening by Kate Chopin - 1391 words

1391 words - 6 pages , is that choices have inevitable consequences. This is connected with Realism because a big belief in Realism is; ethical choices are often the subject, character is more important than action and plot. As the reader can see, there are many examples of how realism can be connected with the main idea of this novel. The novel shows the choices the main protagonist makes and the effects they play in the novel. Also, the choices are bigger and are the basis of the novel rather than a plot. Works Cited Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. New York: Avon, 1972. Print.

The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

1150 words - 5 pages In Kate Chopin's The Awakening, a woman's entrapment within a patriarchal society reveals to her the bonds of having to live up the society's standards which further demonstrates the corruption and skewed perspectives of the post-Victorian era. In the novella, Edna Pontellier's, a wife of a rich Creole businessman, sexual and spiritual desires surface themselves which distinguishes a separation between her pursuit of happiness and her

Edna's Character in " The Awakening", a novel by Kate Chopin

798 words - 3 pages Isle 'all declared that Mr. Pontellier was the best husband in the world.' And 'Mrs. Pontellier was forced to admit she knew of none better'. By using words like 'forced' and 'admit' Chopin illustrates Edna's true feelings towards Leonce. That she married him not because there are none better, but because there are also none worse. Edna's leaving Leonce's mansion is another important detail when considering her rebellion against the mother-woman

Deconstruction,feminism and gender in "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin.

932 words - 4 pages Kate Chopin's second and final novel, The Awakening, was published in 1899 at the height ofher popularity. Ironically, this work, now regarded as a classic, essentially marked the end ofChopin's writing career. The Awakening has now earned a place in the literary canon for theway it uses these formal and structural techniques to explore themes of marriage,motherhood and woman's independence, desire, and sexuality. In my opinion all these

Similar Essays

Kate Chopin – 'the Awakening' Essay

4511 words - 18 pages influence on women's literature and feminism in general.Works CitedBoren, Lynda S., and Sara Davis. eds. "Kate Chopin reconsidered: beyond the bayou." Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1992C. Shifflett, R. Balkin, Victorian America, 1876 to 1913 (Almanacs of American Life), Facts on File (May 1996)Culley, Margaret, ed. The Awakening: An Authoritative Text Context Criticism. New York: Norton, 1976.Thomas, H. Kirk "Kate Chopin's 'The Awakening

The Awakening Kate Chopin Essay

1091 words - 4 pages Critical Essay "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin"Kate Chopin was writing before the phrase "women's movement" had been coined"(Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography), but the stirrings of this twentieth century movement were beginning to simmer in the United States. Late 19th century customs demanded that woman be defined in relationship to the men in their life - wife, mother, daughter - and not as separate human beings with a defined-self outside

Kate Chopin The Awakening Essay

2326 words - 9 pages Kate Chopin The Awakening To what extent does Edna Pontellier, in Kate Chopin's The Awakening, mark a departure from the female characters of earlier nineteenth-century American novels The Awakening was published in 1899, and it immediately created a controversy. Contemporaries of Kate Chopin (1851-1904) were shocked by her depiction of a woman with active sexual desires, who dares to leave her husband and have an affair. Instead of

Women In The Awakening Kate Chopin

1722 words - 7 pages depend on her. Adele loves her husband and fulfills her role in the home. However, Edna avoids housework and tries to get away from her husband. Adele's diversions enhance her family, but Edna's diversions satisfy her own desires. Edna and Adele are both Creole wives, but they choose different paths for their lives.Works CitedChopin, Kate. The Awakening. New York: Dover Publications, 1993.Koloski, Bernard. Kate Chopin: A Study of the Short Fiction