Kate Chopin’s The Awakening Essay

1108 words - 4 pages

Feminism first emerged in the middle of the eighteenth century; at this point they were mainly focused on gaining the right to vote. By 1910, the suffrage movement as it was called was gaining nationwide notoriety and by 1919 had given women the right to vote. However even at the height of the suffrage movement, women’s rights were scarce. Women were denied a large amount of jobs, and the few they could have were both exploitative and discriminatory towards them. In addition to this, women were given few choices for marriage many times it was for status, and for women at this point it was also for their whole life. This provides the backdrop for Kate Chopin’s, The Awakening. Chopin’s novel shows the struggle of a woman in this time period dealing with the repression and injustices in society. In this early feminist novel, the main character, Edna Pontellier, struggles to find herself and free herself from the roles of wife, and mother. The novel is rife with symbolism that helps us to understand the struggle that Edna, and many of the women of the early nineteen-hundreds went through to free themselves from stereotypes in their quest for personal freedom. Throughout the novel Kate Chopin’s heavy use of symbolism with the birds provides accurate metaphors of the awakening of her desire for individual freedom and the struggle for it that Edna Pontellier goes through in The Awakening, as well as the struggle of women for freedoms as well.
The birds are representative of Edna and are used to allude to her changes. The first comparison to Edna with birds is with the parrot. This alludes to Edna with the aspect of being caged, and the idea that both have very little freedom. In addition to this both the parrot and Edna are viewed as an item, and as “a valuable piece of property” showing how to Léonce both are possessions to be kept and used as a showpiece (7). In both cases Léonce also could “[quit] their society” when either his wife or the parrot “ceased to be entertaining” but that the parrot and Edna could not (5). When Edna moves to the “pigeon house” her comparison changes from parrot to pigeon, which is due to the changes in her personality. This is implying that she had greater freedom, and that “every step” away from “obligations added to her strength and expansion” and to help define who she was. But Edna is at this point still a pigeon, still a possession and a caged pet (156). Through inferences, she like a pigeon is known to always return to home in the end. Finally there is the comparison to the seagull. This refers to total freedom because it is a wild and uncaged bird. In many cases it was associated with Reisz who was seen as one free from society, and consequently though was despised. That, disgust of her by society, was in some part was due to her independent nature. Her position as an artist which as she put it “includes much” with “many gifts” but perhaps most importantly “must possess the courageous soul" to succeed, and that was...

Find Another Essay On Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

Choice of Lifestyle in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

655 words - 3 pages Choice of Lifestyle in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening One of many poignant themes in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening is Edna Pontellier’s fundamental choice of lifestyle -- the choice of dedication to the aesthete, the solitude of art (as represented by Mademoiselle Reisz), or devotion to the all-consuming task of becoming a domestic goddess (as Madame Ratignolle has done). Considered mutually exclusive not only by Chopin but by American society

The Bonds That Break the Silence: Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”

2587 words - 10 pages respectful woman. By taking away women’s voices, men were able to remove any power that they might have had. In both Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”, we see that there are two types of women who arise from the demands of these expectations. The first is the obedient women, the one who has buckled and succumbed to become an empty emotionless shell. In men’s eyes this type of woman was a sort of “angel” perfect in

Oppression of Women in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

1324 words - 5 pages Edna Pontellier of Kate Chopin’s work The Awakening as well as the nameless female narrator of Charlotte Perkin Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper both experienced similar forms of gendered oppression, who have become frustrated with their conventional womanly roles. In having like experiences, these literary works prove effective in relaying the issue of gender inequalities among men and women in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Although both Chopin

Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and Harriet Ann Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

1370 words - 5 pages within ourselves. Even leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. had tactics that he would practice when in front of national leaders, and those which he incorporated into his daily and personal life as a means to remain strong. We can observe this “micro-level resistance” to relevant injustices through the lives of individuals such as portrayed in two novels: Kate Chopin’s fictional work, The Awakening, and Harriet Ann Jacobs’ slave narrative and

Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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

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

The Awakening Kate Chopin

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'

4511 words - 18 pages producing impressive work, including а fine series of stories set in Nachitoches Parish, her fictional region. Many of these mature stories are included in the two volumes published during her lifetime-Bayou Folk (1894) and А Night in Acadie (1897). All of the stories and sketches were made available in The Complete Works of Kate Chopin (1969). Had she never written The Awakening, these stories alone, the best of which are inimitable and

Kate Chopin The Awakening

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

Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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"

2380 words - 10 pages Just 50 years after the first women's right movement in 1848, Kate Chopin had published her controversial novel, The Awakening to a society that was beginning to struggle with the concept of equal rights for all people. Chopin embraced the triumphs and frustrations she and many women of her time faced through the main character Edna Pontellier, a women who was struggling for her freedom in a male dominant society. Chopin descriptively takes the

Similar Essays

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple And Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

1259 words - 5 pages respectful woman. By taking away women’s voices, men were able to remove any power that they might have had. In both Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”, we see that there are two types of women who arise from the demands of these expectations. The first is the obedient women, the one who has buckled and succumbed to become an empty emotionless shell. In men’s eyes this type of woman was a sort of “angel” perfect in

Strength In Struggle: Edna Pontellier In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

3659 words - 15 pages Strength in Struggle Many readers see the actions of Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening as those of a feminist martyr. Edna not only defies her husband and commits adultery, but chooses death over life in a society that will not grant her gender equality. Although this reading may fit, it is misguided in that it ignores a basic aspect of Chopin’s work, the force that causes Mrs. Mallard’s happiness in “The Story of an Hour” upon

Identity And Society's Expectations In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

584 words - 2 pages In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Edna Pontellier’s suicide is an assertion of her independence and contributes to Chopin’s message that to be independent one must choose between personal desires and societal expectations. Chopin conveys this message through Edna’s reasons for committing suicide and how doing so leads her to total independence. Unlike the other women of Victorian society, Edna is unwilling to suppress her personal identity and

Madame Bovary As A Template For Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

2162 words - 9 pages Madame Bovary as a Template for Kate Chopin’s The Awakening The story of Edna Pontellier, the heroine of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, echoes that of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Both novels tell about young wives who recognize the hollowness of their marriages and look outside them for fulfillment. While the similarities are deep and numerous, Chopin’s characterization and plot diverge from those of Flaubert. Madame Bovary does contain a hint