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Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" Essay

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 social groups. Edna Pontellier is a middle-upper class woman who suffers by the "obedience to [her husband's] compelling wishes." Edna would rather do what she wantd, yet she yields to his commands. Women are also ostracized when they use their talents for pleasure. Both Edna and Adele express their emotions through art, yet Adele is considered "more of a musician than [Edna is] a painter." This is because Adele plays the piano only socially, while Edna paints almost everyday instead of doing her chores. Women roles in society parallel to their degradation. While men are allowed to frolic about playing games and traveling to other parts of the country, their wives sit home fulfilling their "duty towards their children" and completing their household work.Chopin defines Edna as the protagonist, and everyone else as an antagonist. Though some characters appear to help her, everyone in this society pushes Edna towards her doom. Adele and Robert influence Edna to free herself of her duties, though in two differnt ways. Adele affects Edna through her "freedom of expression," while Robert affects Edna through his love for her. Adele tries to pull Edna's marriage back together, while Robert tries to break it apart. Nevertheless, both attempts push Edna towards her rebellion of her entire social role. Robert encourages her grow to resent her husband, and Adele teaches her to speak and act freely. The children also play a role in allowing Edna to come alive. If not for the kids trying "to drag her into the soul's slavery for the rest of her days," she would never attempt to run away from them. When Edna's life slips back into her old routine for a moment, Edna realizes that...

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