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Essay on The Importance of Doctor Mandelet in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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"The Doctor was a semi-retired physician, resting, as the saying is, upon his laurels. He bore a reputation for wisdom rather than skill.. .and was much sought for in matters of consultation."(64-65) Although this description defines the role of the Doctor throughout the novel, it does not do him justice regarding the depths of his intuitive abilities. Doctor Mandelet was a healer indeed-not of the body but of the mind. In spite of being a male, he does not fit into the stereotype, and seems to understand, though not fully, the identity conflicts tormenting Edna Pontellier. In the beginning he is portrayed as the common man with hardly any comprehension of a woman's emotions. By the end, he realizes that the society in which they live is full of stereotypes and can discern the adverse effects which the demanded gender roles can incur upon less-than-complacent individuals. He perceives Edna's awakening, yet his character symbolizes an anesthetic, not a cure, for her pains of bondage.

 

When a frustrated Mr. Pontellier, Chopin's stereotypical male, visits the Doctor regar...


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