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Kate Chopin: The Awakening analysis - Essay Example

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The author has also written two novels and a hundred other short stories which appeared in her published collections A Night in Acadie (1897) and Bayou Folk (1894). Her short stories received an…
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Kate Chopin: The Awakening analysis
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Kate Chopin: The Awakening analysis

In this paper, the awakening of Edna a character in the novel is explored.
Edna Pontelliers experience can be viewed from two perspectives, and it is upon the reader to choose how to perceive this controversial character. The protagonist Ednas struggle to change well-defined societal and natural roles of motherhood with no support from fellow women makes her give up the fight and result to committing suicide. To some extent her resolution to go against societal expectations of women can be positively seen as a way of delivering women from chauvinist men and patriarchal society. On the other hand, it can be seen as negative because the denial of her status of a mother and wife is unnatural (Killen 10).
Edna is opposed to the natural and societal structures of motherhood that compel her to be defined as wife of Leonce Pontellier and mother of Etienne and Raoul rather than being her own self-defined individual. Her behavior upsets many nineteenth-century expectations for women and their set roles. Her character is contrasted with that of Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz as models. In contrast, Edna views their lives as lacking freedom and individuality that she desires (Lattin 32).
In Edna Pontellier’s world women can choose either be defined by men or live a life detached from the rest of the society. “Women become either wives and mothers. . . or exiles” (Papke 39). Adele is the perfect example of a male-defined wife and mother. A mother-woman is portrayed as a woman who idolizes her children and worshipped their husbands” (Chopin 10). Being a talented pianist even the very act of music creation is done for the sake of her children. “She reported that she was keeping up her music for the sake of her children, considering it a way of brightening their home and making it attractive” (Chopin 27).According to Edna, the life of the mother-woman does not satisfy her longing for an existence devoid of definition. “A ... Read More
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