The Awakening, by Kate Chopin Essay

The Awakening, by Kate Chopin Essay

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The Awakening is set in 1899, a time when the Industrial Revolution and the women's movement were just beginning , conversely, still overshadowed by the attitudes of society in the 19th century. Kate Chopin's idea that a woman’s needs were important was somewhat radical, especially since women were not considered to be independent, and women’s rights were still being fought for.
Edna's major conflict is her need for independence and personal fulfillment while still trying to conform to her traditional upbringing. Edna is expected to be a perfect wife and mother, both while vacationing on Grand Isle and living in New Orleans. She is to be the social hostess , wife and mother, all the while keeping house, maintaining order with the servants and children, and being the perfect hostess once a week. While she is living on Grand Isle and in the big house in New Orleans, Edna stays within these traditional roles and does what is expected of her and never looks further than her front door, so to speak.
Edna's husband, Leonce, is kind and loving but very preoccupied with his work. He allows his work to keep him from home not only away during the day, but also for extended periods of time. When he is away from home for long periods of time (i.e. many months in fact) he sends Edna gifts to show his love. The servants remark what a wonderful and perfect husband he is because he is so generous. When he arrives home he expects the home to be in perfect order with all of "his things" on display and in their perfect places. Edna should never do anything which would cause her husband to complain. If her husband is displeased with, let us say, dinner, he has the right to leave and get dinner at the "club". It is perfectly acceptable for L...


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.... From an early age she questioned societies expectations which ultimately led to her living life the way she wanted to live it and trying to support herself. She rejected society. However, she came to the realization that she did love her children, and she couldn't bear for them to be hurt by her selfish actions and does not want to disgrace them by having casual affairs, like Mrs. Highcamp. Her swim in the ocean showed her independent spirit and strong will ,yet, she was unable to commit to the life she really wanted at the expense of her children.
The Awakening received unfavorable reviews and was labeled as morbid, vulgar, and disagreeable. Kate Chopin’s fiction was mostly forgotten after her death, until scholars and readers set in motion a Kate Chopin revival in the 1950’s. I enjoyed reading this story, although, Vickie stated that the ending "was dumb!"


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