Preview
Preview

Feminism and Emotional Liberation in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

:: 4 Works Cited
Length: 2636 words (7.5 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Feminism and Emotional Liberation in The Awakening

 
            In our time, the idea of feminism is often portrayed as a modern one, dating back no further than the famous bra-burnings of the 1960s. Perhaps this is due to some unconscious tendency to assume that one's own time is the most enlightened in history. But this tendency is unfortunate, because it does not allow readers to see the precursors of modern ideas in older works. A prime example of this is Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening, which explores the marital infidelities of a woman stuck in a loveless marriage as she searches for her purpose in life. In it, we see how an institutionalized union such as marriage is, almost by necessity, dispassionate, while forbidden loves are characterized only by passion, either physical or emotional. Because of this, we can observe that The Awakening is a feminist novel; through its unflattering portrayal of the institution of marriage and its positive stance towards feminine liberation, we see Chopin's belief in the equality and independence of the sexes.

 

But we cannot discuss feminism without a definition of the term. Since this term is one that has been thrown about for many decades and used by various groups to define themselves, it is imperative to pin down precisely what we mean by the word "feminism". The first definition that may come to mind is the belief in female superiority - the belief that, either by accident or design, females are inherently superior to males; or, equivalently, that males are inferior to females. This is just as imbalanced as the traditional European belief in male superiority, and this is not the type of feminism that we observe in Chopin's work. A second, somewhat improved, definitio...


... middle of paper ...


...ial conventions in general illustrate a belief that females as a whole have the right to independence. While this idea seems almost trivial in our time, it was scandalous when the novel was written. It is with this in mind that we must conclude that The Awakening is, in fact, feminist, and at the same time promotes an emotional independence that many would still not dare to strive for today.

 

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. New York: Dover, 1993.

Deyo, C. L. "The Newest Books". St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 20, 1899: 4.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "Self-Reliance". Ralph Waldo Emerson: Selected Essays. Ed. Larzer Ziff. New York: Penguin, 1982: 175-203.

Hofstadter, Douglas R. "Pattern, Poetry, and Power in the Music of Frédéric Chopin". Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern. New York: Basic Books, 1985: 173-189.



Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Love and Self in Kate Chopin's The Awakening - Love and Self in The Awakening                  Kate Chopin's The Awakening is often said to triumph the exploration on the emotional and sexual needs of women, and the novel certainly is about that to a great extent, but even more importantly, it is a quest for individuality and the meaning of love. Through the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, Chopin describes in her novel one woman's journey towards self-consciousness. Several stages of 'awakenings' can be detected on the road, which are discussed in detail, along with the themes of romantic love, possession and an individual self....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
3479 words
(9.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Women's Role In Society - Have you ever wondered what the lifestyles of Nineteenth Century women were like. Were they independent, career women or were they typical housewives that cooked, clean, watched the children, and catered to their husbands. Did the women of this era express themselves freely or did they just do what society expected of them. Kate Chopin was a female author who wrote several stories and two novels about women. One of her renowned works of art is The Awakening. This novel created great controversy and received negative criticism from literary critics due to Chopin's portrayal of women by Edna throughout the book....   [tags: Kate Chopin Awakening] 1498 words
(4.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Edna Pontellier's Suicide in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay - Edna Pontellier's Suicide Suicide has been defined as "the act of self-destruction by a person sound in mind and capable of measuring his (or her) moral responsibility" (Webster 1705). Determining one's moral responsibility is what all of humanity struggles with and strives to achieve. Many forces act toward the suppression of this self-discovery, causing a breakdown and ultimately a complete collapse of conventional conceptions of the self. So then the question presented becomes whether or not Edna's suicide is an act of tragic affirmation or pathetic defeat....   [tags: Awakening Kate Chopin] 1574 words
(4.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay Edna’s Choice in Kate Chopin's The Awakening - Edna’s Choice in Kate Chopin's The Awakening The text of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening often makes Edna Pontellier appear selfish and unfeeling, especially towards her children. Chopin does, however, allow for the possibility that Edna’s final act may be one of unselfish love for her children. It is Edna’s inability to assume the role society has chosen for her that leads her to act as she does. Edna really had no other choice in the end. It is very easy to perceive Edna as a selfish, cold, unfeeling woman....   [tags: Kate Chopin Awakening Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1646 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Ambiguity in Kate Chopin's The Awakening - Ambiguity in The Awakening        Leonce Pontellier, the husband of Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin's The Awakening, becomes very perturbed when his wife, in the period of a few months, suddenly drops all of her responsibilities. After she admits that she has "let things go," he angrily asks, "on account of what?" Edna is unable to provide a definite answer, and says, "Oh. I don't know. Let me along; you bother me" (108). The uncertainty she expresses springs out of the ambiguous nature of the transformation she has undergone....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
:: 8 Works Cited
3587 words
(10.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about Suicide in Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening - Suicide in Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening Suicide is often thought of as a very sad and quick answer to problems, such as depression but in Kate Chopin's novel, she ironically portrays suicide as a passage to freedom. The Awakening (1899) is a short novel that depicts the life of a young housewife struggling for her independence, sexuality, and her self worth in an unromantic marriage. The author, through three major actions, shows the successful and triumphant "awakening" of Edna Pontellier....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
762 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on The Power of Painting in Kate Chopin's The Awakening - The Power of Painting in Kate Chopin's The Awakening The Awakening by Kate Chopin displays the struggle a woman goes through in order to break the current status quo. In this novel, Edna Pontellier releases herself to her deepest yearnings, plunging into an immoral relationship that reawakens her long dormant desires, enflames her heart, and eventually blinds her to all else. As she goes through these changes Edna involves herself in many different activities. Painting becomes one of her favorite pastimes and her artwork often depicts an important person in her life....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1800 words
(5.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Edna’s Search for Solitude in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay - Edna’s Search for Solitude in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Home from a summer at Grand Isle, separated from the company of an agreeable and, eventually beloved, companion and in the stifling company of a disagreeable, oblivious husband, Edna Pontellier sees her home, her garden, her fashionable neighborhood as "an alien world which had suddenly become antagonistic" (76). When she is left alone in the house, she thrills to the sensation of free time and space, the chance to explore, investigate, to see her house in its own light....   [tags: Chopin Awakening] 1270 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Selfish Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay - Selfish Edna Pontellier in The Awakening Could the actions of Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin's novella The Awakening ever be justified. This question could be argued from two different perspectives. The social view of The Awakening would accuse Edna Pontellier of being selfish and unjustified in her actions. Yet, in terms of the story's romanticism, Edna was in many ways an admirable character. She liberated herself from her restraints and achieved nearly all that she desired. Chopin could have written this novel to glorify a woman in revolt against conventions of the period....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays] 1370 words
(3.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Finding True Freedom in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay - Finding True Freedom in The Awakening  Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening details the endeavors of heroine Edna Pontellier to cope with the realization that she is not, nor can she ever be, the woman she wants to be. Edna has settled for less. She is married for all the wrong reasons, saddled with the burden of motherhood, and trapped by social roles that would never release her. The passage below is only one of the many tender and exquisitely sensory passages that reveal Edna’s soul to the reader....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays] 1226 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]