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The Awakening By Kate Chopin Essay

1910 words - 8 pages

Kate Chopin, inspired through her strong-willed widowed mother and grandmother, wrote inspiring stories of female heroines that were rejected by a society unwilling to accept Chopin’s risqué subjects. She was born into an affluent family on February 8th, 1851 in St. Louis, Missouri. She attended convent schools where she was strongly encouraged to pursue her writing career. She spent much of her free time by herself, in her attic, reading vigorously. Her mother and grandmother strongly encouraged her to think for herself and pursue her interests. After her graduation from Sacred Heart Academy in 1868, she married Oscar Chopin. Sadly, Oscar Chopin died in 1882 due to malaria leaving Kate in great debt. She started her writing career off by publishing stories in magazines like Vogue, Atlantic Monthly, and Harper’s. Most of Chopin’s stories are centered on women whom were forced to cope with situations such as prostitution, disease, and abuse.
Chopin was best known for her publication of The Awakening in 1889, but it was quickly condemned after she had written it. The unsettling material within it brought her writing career to a quick halt. People were accustomed to romantic fiction and were greatly disturbed by Chopin’s female protagonist, Edna Pontellier, because of her scandalous affairs she had with other men outside of her marriage. Chopin died on August 22nd, 1904 from a cerebral hemorrhage, so she never experienced people admiring her novel. It was not until the 1960s when The Awakening was finally recognized and noted for the strong female heroines. Since The Awakening, Chopin was not able to see another one of her works published, but in 1969 her most graphic short story was finally published, “The Storm”. Even though Chopin’s writing career was halted, people today admire her novel because of how strong-willed Edna Pontellier was facing social problems.
Edna Pontellier lived in Grand Isle during the 1800s with her perfect – to society standards – husband, Léonce Pontellier. They lived a middle-class life society with all the possessions one could ever dream. Edna spent time with Adèle Ratignolle, a Creole woman who exuded elegance. This relationship was the start of Edna’s personal awakening, the focus of the novel. Edna soon began to take interest in Robert Lubrun and as the summer continued, their love flourished for one another awakening Edna’s independence and sexuality. She later befriended Mademoiselle Reisz, a musician, who heartened Edna’s familiarity with individuality. Edna’s husband recognized her change of outlook and he sought the aide of a physician, Doctor Mandelet, who proposed to let her continue with this behavior for it was just a phase. While her husband was away for work and Robert had left for Mexico, Edna had an affair with Alcée Arobin, which intensified the sexual aspect of her awakening. When Robert finally returned from Mexico, he revealed his feelings for Edna understanding their love could never happen due to...

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