Understanding Chopin's The Awakening

:: 3 Works Cited
Length: 794 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »

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

Text Preview

More ↓
Understanding Chopin's The Awakening


By reading The Awakening, the reader gets a sense of what the life of a Creole woman is like.  In actuality, though, it is not until reading the etiquette books, Chopin’s biographical information, and essays about the treatment of women at the time that there can be a deeper understanding of the rules Edna is breaking.

Passages from Chopin's Biographical Information

Fawned over as a society belle, admired for her cleverness and musical talent, Kate wrote what she really thought in her diary: “I dance with people I despise; amuse myself with men whose only talent is in their feet.” She wrote advice about how to flirt (just keep asking, “What do you think?” and you will be praised everywhere for your intelligence).  (116)

The sarcasm and wit of Kate Chopin can be seen and heard through the character of Edna Pontellier.  Just from this small excerpt in Chopin’s diary, we can hear the similarities.  In The Awakening, Edna seems to move through the Creole social scene in a daze, possibly because she despised all of it. But when she was alone with her thoughts, she appears quite aware of what she wanted and needed to be happy.

I feel that although many critics say that The Awakening is not based on Chopin’s own life, the author has taken many aspects of her own personal life to develop characters.  For example, the biographical information says that Chopin’s husband is an attentive, loving man.  I think that Robert is, in part, modeled after him.

Here is a passage dealing with the rules of etiquette that Edna is breaking:

Let nothing, but the most imperative duty, call you out upon your reception day. Your callers are, in a measure, invited guests, and it will be an insulting mark of rudeness to be out when they call. Neither can you be excused, except in case of sickness.  (123)

The amount of etiquette that must be learned by these women is astounding.  The articles give the reader a real appreciation for the social faux pas that Edna is  committing. Before reading this, I did not quite understand how far from the norm Edna is straying.  After reading this excerpt, I fully realize why it is such a dire situation to Leonce when Edna went out on her reception day.  The rules made it sound like women needed to be home on their day to have guests; and on the other days, they needed to be out visiting.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Understanding Chopin's The Awakening." 123HelpMe.com. 12 Dec 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=8821>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Understanding Wolff’s Analysis of Chopin’s The Awakening Essay - Understanding Wolff’s Analysis of Chopin’s The Awakening “Un-Utterable Longing” analyzes The Awakening from the diverse, yet overlapping perspectives of deconstruction, feminist/gender theory, new historicism, and psychoanalytic criticism. Much like Yaeger and Treichler, Wolff attributes Edna’s struggle and eventual demise to her failed search for a language that voices her (un)womanly desires. Wolff first adopts the new historicist viewpoint to situate Edna as a 19th-century southern woman, presenting a very real conflict between: the dominating values of her time and place; and her own innermost passions and needs....   [tags: Chopin Awakening] 857 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Symbolism of the Sea in Chopin’s The Awakening Essay - Symbolism of the Sea in Chopin’s The Awakening “The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.” This short quotation from the end of chapter 6 of Kate Chopin’s the Awakening is crucial to understanding the text as a whole and is also a vital example of foreshadowing....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays] 448 words
(1.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Awakening - Critical Views of The Awakening       The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, is full of ideas and understanding about human nature. In Chopin's time, writing a story with such great attention to sensual details in both men and women caused skepticism among readers and critics. However, many critics have different views with deeper thought given to The Awakening. Symbolism, the interpretation of Edna's suicide, and awakenings play important roles in the analysis of all critics.   Symbolism in The Awakening is interpreted in many ways....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
728 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay - During the late nineteenth century, the time of protagonist Edna Pontellier, a woman's place in society was confined to worshipping her children and submitting to her husband. Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, encompasses the frustrations and the triumphs in a woman's life as she attempts to cope with these strict cultural demands. Defying the stereotype of a "mother-woman," Edna battles the pressures of 1899 that command her to be a subdued and devoted housewife. Although Edna's ultimate suicide is a waste of her struggles against an oppressive society, The Awakening supports and encourages feminism as a way for women to obtain sexual freedom, financial independence, and individual identi...   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
:: 7 Works Cited
1882 words
(5.4 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Wolff’s Analysis of Chopin’s The Awakening Essay - Wolff’s Analysis of Chopin’s The Awakening In her essay "Un-Utterable Longing: The Discourse of Feminine Sexuality in Kate Chopin's The Awakening", Cynthia Griffin Wolff creates what Ross Murfin describes as "a critical whole that is greater than the sum of its parts." (376) By employing a variety of critical approaches (including feminist, gender, cultural, new historicism, psychoanalytic and deconstruction) Wolff offers the reader a more complete (albeit complex) explanation of Edna Pontellier's behavior and motivations than any single approach could provide....   [tags: Chopin Awakening] 638 words
(1.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on The Shocking Ideas of Kate Chopin's The Awakening - The Shocking Ideas of The Awakening Ideas that resist existing social boundaries commonly are rejected at first, because people don’t want to wake up from their reliable lives. Kate Chopin, however, believed that an awakening was in order, and she attempted to open the eyes of society through her novel The Awakening. The public’s reaction to Chopin’s novel was not one of acceptance. "Too strong a drink for moral babies, and should be labeled ‘poison,’" was the how the Republic described Chopin's work (Seyersted 174)....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
1874 words
(5.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Controversial Views in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay examples - Controversial Views in Kate Chopin's The Awakening "Too strong a drink for moral babies, and should be labeled `poison'." was the how the Republic described Kate Chopin's most famous novel The Awakening (Seyersted 174). This was not only the view of one magazine, but it summarized the feelings of society as a whole. Chopin woke up people to the feelings and minds of women. Even though her ideas were controversial at first, slowly over the decades people began to accept them. Kate O'Flaherty Chopin was raised in St....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
:: 8 Works Cited
1810 words
(5.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Edna Pontellier’s Sin in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay examples - Nora's Sin in The Awakening      In writing this paper, I believe, God has given me wings, strong wings, to help me fly above common literary convention. The prophet Isaiah said, "[T]hose who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. . ."(Isaiah 40:31). Because I believe the Bible is the complete word of God, I must conclude that that "The Awakening," by Kate Chopin, is "not a healthy book"(Culley 146). The truths presented in the Bible that lead me to this conclusion are the following....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
1582 words
(4.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Edna’s Realization in Chapter 28 of Chopin’s The Awakening Essay - Edna’s Realization in Chapter 28 of Chopin’s The Awakening The fifteen lines of chapter 28 express Edna’s multi-voiced mindset after her relationship with Arobin exceeds the boundaries of friendship. The chapter opens with her crying and then explores the process of guilt as it sets in. Edna’s guilt, however, is afflicted by the other figures in her life, not by her own sense of wrongdoing. The manipulating voices in Edna’s life do affect her, but they do not linger as they once did. It is her voice, her realization, that comes at the end....   [tags: Chopin Awakening] 853 words
(2.4 pages)
Strong 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]

Related Searches




  It is understandable that a woman would become very sick of this routine after a while; it leaves no room for personal time.

Passage from Southern Womanhood

They are accomplished women rather than intellectual. Women’s rights, for them, are the right to love and be loved, and to name the babies rather than the next president or city officials.
They are not club women, they do not aspire to fame, and it is true that the average Creole woman cannot compete, in some respects, with her American sisters.  (139)

This passage is interesting to me because it made it sound as though Creole women are very highly esteemed, but at the same time they are not as competent as other American women. This made me think of play dolls.  The Creole women are the dolls to look at, and the other American women are the dolls that could be played with.  Although the author comes across as saying Creoles are less than other women in the country, I think the real message is that the Creole woman is above reproach because she is well rounded and content with every aspect of her life.

Passage from Are Women Growing Selfish? (145-46)

This is my favorite passage in my entire section.  I think people are scared when women began to take more of an interest in themselves because then they are more aware of what they want and less dutiful in making everyone else happy.  While I enjoy this passage, I also feel that there should be some middle ground between being a devoted wife and mother, and being independent.  At the time, it seemed that rich women did not have a lot of contact with their children anyway, so when Edna talked of her children as if they were a burden, I did not have much sympathy for her. In the story, she maybe spent three months with her kids.  Even when they were around, a quadroon was watching them.

Works Cited

Cully, Margo, ed.  The Awakening.  By Kate Chopin.  1899.  New York: Norton, 1994.

Dix, Dorothy.  "Are Women Growing Selfish."  Cully 144-51.

---"An Etiquette/Advice Book Sampler."  Cully 122-30.

Koloski, Bernard. Approaches to Teaching Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. New York,1988.

Tillet, Wilbur Fisk.  From Southern Womanhood.  Cully 139-44.  


Return to 123HelpMe.com