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The Awakening - A Woman's Search for Individuality

Uploaded by 197724 on Apr 26, 2002

In Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening, we read about a woman who is struggling with the many obstacles in life in the late 1800's. A woman, who got married, had kids because that was what was expected of her. She is in search of more in her life, some sort of meaning for her whole existence. Her husband who at the beginning tries to control his wife attributes a great deal to her unhappiness. As evident in chapter III when he approached his wife and accused her of neglecting their children, and she began to cry you could tell immediately that she was an unhappy woman wanting to be free, and nothing, not even her children would make her happy.

There is this so called rule that a woman must marry, have children, and live happily ever after. In the late 1800's society portrays this to be a "job." The expectations of a “traditional” woman should act and look "proper" at all times. Also, there were very few opportunities for individualism and expression, not to mention independence. Edna is fighting against the rules in this novel. She feels that, although many women agree with this rule it isn't fair. Edna is unhappy with the expectations, held by society, of life and wishes to live her life the way that she wants. During her gradual awakening, Edna discovers her own identity and acknowledges her emotional and sexual desires.

Contributing to her unhappiness is her husband; he is what would be considered very firm with her. He believes that she should be the "perfect" housewife and do everything for her husband, and when she doesn't he reveals his disappointment with her. At the beginning of the book when Edna is sunbathing at the bathe on Grand Isle, Leonce approaches her and says, "What folly! To bathe at such an hour in such heat! You are burnt beyond recognition." "Looking at his wife as one looks at valuable piece of property, which has suffered some damage." (7) As time goes on Edna feels that Leonce's is trying to control her. She wants to break the label. Fighting to break free of society's image, wanting to be independent. "In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her." (25) He sees Edna as...

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Uploaded by:   197724

Date:   04/26/2002

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (996 words)

Views:   2336

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