This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

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 illustrate Edna’s own rebirth as she awakens throughout the novel. Exploring Chopin’s tale through feminist literary theory and the cult of domesticity, the metaphor of motherhood through Edna’s own maternity as well as her metaphorical rebirth becomes apparent.
Lois Tyson’s text, Critical Theory Today (2006), explains the various theories that are utilized to critique literature and explain plots, themes, and characters. With feminist literary theory, Tyson writes, “Broadly defined, feminist criticism examines the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforces or undermines the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women” (83). With Edna Pontellier, her place in the story relies on her husband’s social status; her husband, Leonce Pontellier, is a successful businessman in New Orleans and wants to maintain appearances of success and marital stability. With Leonce, a product of society, he sees and treats Edna as an object: “‘You are burnt beyond recognition,’ he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage” (Chopin 44).
Leonce then demonstrates patriarchy in The Awakening, an aspect of culture that portrays the intellectual, physical, social, and psychological dominance of men over women. On patriarchy, “traditional gender roles,” according to Tyson, “cast men as rational, strong, protective, and decisive; they cast women as emotional (irrational), weak, nurturing, and submissive.” With Leonce, he, the solid patriarch of his family, believes that his wife may be suffering a mental breakdown because of her “odd” actions. Leonce says things like, “I don’t know what ails her,” “She’s odd, she’s not like herself. I can’t make her out,” and “She let’s the housekeeping go to the dickens. Her whole attitude—toward me and everybody and everything—has changed” (117-18). While Doctor Mandalet recognizes that Edna may be having an affair, Leonce does not come to this conclusion; instead, Leonce is more inclined to believe that Edna’s mental health is the cause for her “odd” behavior.
Leonce does not consider Edna’s emotional well-being when he tries to calculate the cause of her attitude change; he does, though, view her as his wife, whom he possesses, and admonishes her for not taking better care of their two sons. Chopin writes, “[Leonce] reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children. If it was not a mother’s place to look after children, whose on earth was it” (48)? Edna...

Find Another Essay On The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Awakening, by Kate Chopin Essay

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 Essay

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 - 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

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

The Awakening by Kate Chopin SYMBOLS

1006 words - 4 pages In The Awakening, author Kate Chopin used several significant symbols that illustrate the actions and feelings of her main character, Edna Pontellier, throughout the book. Chopin used various birds, clothing and garments, music played on pianos, and lastly, the sea to symbolize the true identity within Edna, a woman whose search for her own individuality taught her the value of freedom and happiness. The Awakening started with a parrot in

Feminism in the Awakening by Kate Chopin

1682 words - 7 pages own self from society completely, and by ending her life. Just as Edna did not obey to the morals of her peers, Kate Chopin defied her own peers by writing the novel, The Awakening. She uses attitudes of characters in her novel, changes in Edna and then ultimately her suicide to express her own feminist assertions. Chopin was rejected from societies as a result of her resilient feministic point-of-views and her great ability to show them through

Opinion on "The Awakening" By: Kate Chopin

1122 words - 4 pages to excel. However, Edna made the wrong decisions and suffered as a result. Robert Frost once wrote, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Edna Pontellier surely took the road less traveled by, and that road made the difference between a life of happiness and success and a life of- well no life at all.Machiavelli, The DiscoursesChopin, Kate The Awakening, Page 89Ibid, Chapter XXXVIIIbid, Chapter VIIIIbid, Chapter XXXVIIbid, Page 103Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (fiction, but nevertheless relevant)Chopin, Kate The Awakening Chapter IIIFrost, Robert "The Road Not Taken"

Similar Essays

The Awakening By Kate Chopin Essay

1148 words - 5 pages through her struggles is to commit suicide. By showing her awakening from her troubles Kate Chopin shows how sexism can affect a woman internally and externally. Kate Chopin tells of a woman in Desiree's Baby who gave birth to a child. As the child grows older, it becomes obvious that the child is of mixed decent. The father grows colder and colder toward Desiree and the baby. Far quite a while she stays and deals with him being cold and distant

The Awakening By Kate Chopin Essay 1910 Words

1910 words - 8 pages courageous because she was unwilling to give her individuality up for society’s demanding impression. In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna battles oppression from society because she refused to abide by society’s standards of women. She wants to be her own individual and find self worth in herself, but to her dismay this self-journey resulted in her suicide leaving the reader with the deciding factor of whether her act was out of courage or

The Awakening By Kate Chopin Essay 5354 Words

5354 words - 21 pages The Awakening by Kate Chopin Edna Pontellier is considered a dangerous rebel! Her scandalous behavior has been deemed immoral and unfit by New Orleans society. It is feared that her negative influence will be the downfall of women everywhere unless she is stopped. Kate Chopin’s The Awakening is a terrific read and I am hardly able to put it down!  I am up to chapter XV and many of the characters are developing in very interesting ways

The Awakening By Kate Chopin Essay 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