The Awakening by Kate Chopin Essay

The Awakening by Kate Chopin Essay

Length: 1582 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Kate Chopin, inspired through her strong-willed widowed mother and grandmother, wrote inspiring stories of female heroines that were rejected by a society unwilling to accept Chopin’s risqué subjects. She was born into an affluent family on February 8th, 1851 in St. Louis, Missouri. She attended convent schools where she was strongly encouraged to pursue her writing career. She spent much of her free time by herself, in her attic, reading vigorously. Her mother and grandmother strongly encouraged her to think for herself and pursue her interests. After her graduation from Sacred Heart Academy in 1868, she married Oscar Chopin. Sadly, Oscar Chopin died in 1882 due to malaria leaving Kate in great debt. She started her writing career off by publishing stories in magazines like Vogue, Atlantic Monthly, and Harper’s. Most of Chopin’s stories are centered on women whom were forced to cope with situations such as prostitution, disease, and abuse.
Chopin was best known for her publication of The Awakening in 1889, but it was quickly condemned after she had written it. The unsettling material within it brought her writing career to a quick halt. People were accustomed to romantic fiction and were greatly disturbed by Chopin’s female protagonist, Edna Pontellier, because of her scandalous affairs she had with other men outside of her marriage. Chopin died on August 22nd, 1904 from a cerebral hemorrhage, so she never experienced people admiring her novel. It was not until the 1960s when The Awakening was finally recognized and noted for the strong female heroines. Since The Awakening, Chopin was not able to see another one of her works published, but in 1969 her most graphic short story was finally published, “The Storm”. Even though Chopin...


... middle of paper ...


...ey resulted in her suicide leaving the reader with the deciding factor of whether her act was out of courage or selfishness. This illuminates how people will go to any extent to try to prove themselves to their own self. Edna went as far taking her own life rather than loosing her identity by suppressing to standards of society. Identity is key to human survival; we all crave it in our own lives.
















Works Cited
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. New York: Bantam, 2003. Print.
Kort, Carol. "Chopin, Kate." Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.
Rowe, John Carlos. "The Economics of the Body in Kate Chopin's The Awakening." Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.
Schweitzer, Ivy. "Maternal Discourse and the Romance of Self-Possession in Kate Chopin's The Awakening." Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Edna's Suicide in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

- Edna's Suicide in Kate Chopin's The Awakening At the end of Kate Chopin's novel „The Awakening" the protagonist Edna commits suicide. The remaining question for the reader is: Does Edna's suicide show that she succeeded or failed in her struggle for independence. Edna's new life in independency seems to be going well especially after Robert had returned from Mexico. The lover, who she met during her vacation at Grand Isle, told her that he loves her and he wants to marry her. But her mood changes when her friend Adéle tells her that she should care more about her family as she does not spend enough time with her family because of her affairs....   [tags: Kate Chopin Awakening Analysis]

Powerful Essays
971 words (2.8 pages)

Symbolism In Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

- Author Manly Hall once said, “Symbolism is the language of the Mysteries. By symbols men have ever sought to communicate to each other those thoughts which transcend the limitations of language.” Throughout Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Chopin utilizes symbolism in order to critique society. Chopin uses the symbolism of birds throughout the book, the birds represent Edna’s attempt to escape society, the expectations, and the prejudices of society, with the bird symbolism, Chopin is critiquing patriarchy, and mothers, and how they conform to society’s standards....   [tags: Kate Chopin, The Awakening, Grand Isle, Louisiana]

Powerful Essays
1279 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on Birth in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

- Birth in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Birth, whether of children or desires, plays a strong motif throughout The Awakening. The four components of childbirth, which Edna—the novel’s main character—recalls as she witnesses her friend Madame Ratignolle give birth, represent major themes Chopin emphasizes throughout her novel. These four components are “ecstasy of pain, the heavy odor of chloroform, a stupor which had deadened sensation, and an awakening to find a little new life” (133). In childbirth, the first three components are necessary to achieve the fourth: the awakening to find a new life....   [tags: Kate Chopin Awakening Essays]

Powerful Essays
2916 words (8.3 pages)

Essay on Kate Chopin's The Awakening

- Kate Chopin's The Awakening Kate Chopin's novella The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a woman who throughout the novella tries to find herself. Edna begins the story in the role of the typical mother-woman distinctive of Creole society but as the novelette furthers so does the distance she puts between herself and society. Edna's search for independence and a way to stray from society's rules and ways of life is depicted through symbolism with birds, clothing, and Edna's process of learning to swim....   [tags: Kate Chopin Awakening]

Free Essays
1023 words (2.9 pages)

Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

- Kate Chopin's The Awakening Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening expresses the difficulty of finding a woman’s place in society. Edna learns of new ideas such as freedom and independence while vacationing in Grand Isle. Faced with a choice to conform to society’s expectations or to obey personal desires for independence, Edna Pontellier realizes that either option will result in dissatisfaction. Thus, Edna’s awakening in Grand Isle leads to her suicide. Edna’s awakening occurs during her family’s vacation in Grand Isle....   [tags: Kate Chopin Awakening Essays]

Powerful Essays
1346 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Symbolism in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

- Symbolism in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Chopin's The Awakening is full of symbolism.  Rather than hit the reader on the head with blunt literalism, Chopin uses symbols to relay subtle ideas.  Within each narrative segment, Chopin provides a symbol that the reader must fully understand in order to appreciate the novel as a whole.  I will attempt to dissect some of the major symbols and give possible explanations as to their importance within the text.  Art itself is a symbol of both freedom and failure.  In her attempt to become an artist, Edna reaches the zenith of her awakening.  She begins to truly understand pure art as a means of self-expression as well as self-assertion.  In a si...   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays Kate]

Powerful Essays
1483 words (4.2 pages)

Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

- Kate Chopin's The Awakening In Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening, written approximately one hundred years ago, the protagonist Edna Pontellier's fate is resolved when she 'deliberately swims out to her death in the gulf'(Public Opinion, np). Her own suicide is indeed considered as a small, almost nonexistent victory by many, nevertheless there are those who consider her death anything but insignificant. Taking into consideration that 'her inability to articulate her feelings and analyze her situation [unattainable happiness] results in her act of suicide...'(Muirhead, np) portrays Edna as being incapable of achieving a release from her restricted womanhood as imposed by society....   [tags: Kate Chopin Awakening Essays Papers]

Powerful Essays
1495 words (4.3 pages)

Essay about Kate Chopin The Awakening

- Kate Chopin The Awakening To what extent does Edna Pontellier, in Kate Chopin's The Awakening, mark a departure from the female characters of earlier nineteenth-century American novels The Awakening was published in 1899, and it immediately created a controversy. Contemporaries of Kate Chopin (1851-1904) were shocked by her depiction of a woman with active sexual desires, who dares to leave her husband and have an affair. Instead of condemning her protagonist, Chopin maintains a neutral, non-judgmental tone throughout and appears to even condone her character's unconventional actions....   [tags: Kate Chopin The Awakening Literature Papers]

Powerful Essays
2358 words (6.7 pages)

Kate Chopin's Awakening Essay

- Kate Chopin's Awakening Kate Chopin's depiction of “The Awakening” is realistic as she develops Edna Pontellier’s character from a socially and morally respectable individual to an individual that turns her back on everything closest to her as she births her new self-being. Edna Pontellier struggles between her subconscious and conscious thoughts as unusual feelings stir unfounded emotions and senses. Some of Chopin’s characters lend themselves in Edna’s “awakening”. Through examination of Leonce Pontellier, Robert Lebrun, Madame Moiselle Reisz, Adele Ratignolle, and Alcee Arobin the life of Edna Pontellier turns into her ultimate death....   [tags: Kate Chopin Awakening Essays]

Powerful Essays
1462 words (4.2 pages)

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]

Powerful Essays
1646 words (4.7 pages)