The Awakening By Kate Chopin Essay

The Awakening By Kate Chopin Essay

Length: 1514 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Eventual Awakening
As Kate Chopin’s The Awakening develops a woman’s journey to defy the present social oppression, this selected passage is Edna’s metamorphosis and the turning point in the novel. After listening to Mademoiselle Reisz’s music at Robert’s departure party, Edna swims for the first time and experiences her awakening to the desire for freedom. The surrounding ocean becomes a place that provides Edna strength to free herself and an isolated hiding where she can express her true essential self. However, Edna’s attempt for liberation eventually resigns to the overwhelming presence of death and the unfortunate realization about the society’s dominance. This passage from page 47-48 is the point of epiphany, establishing Edna’s transformation from an obedient housewife to a confident woman who realizes her desire for freedom.
Edna’s unexpected awakening in the ocean allows her to overcome her fear and the societal pressure, molding her identity to a brighter and more confident woman. Edna’s transformation takes place beside the sea, where she finally feels the power over herself, free from the society’s cage. “The sea was quiet now... and did not break except upon the beach in little foamy crests that coiled back like slow, white serpents” (line 1-3). The simile, comparing the waves to a white serpent, denotes into two different perspectives: one represents the society’s view on the a woman’s desire for freedom and the other indicates its meaning to Edna. Generally, serpents symbolizes evilness, corruption, and the temptation to sin. Likewise, to the society’s perspective, the sea is tempting Edna to disobey social expectations and rules. On the other hand, it becomes an archetype for pure energy and supreme sensuality t...


... middle of paper ...


... watching you,’” (line 28-30). Edna’s interesting utilization of the word, “should”, instead of using “would” conceals her fear of the social pressure and reveals her desire. In contrast, Mr. Pontellier’s response is correspondent to the shackles that society has bonded her to. There is no freedom of action; she will always be under surveillance.
This passage from Kate Chopin’s The Awakening is Edna’s awakening to the masked patriarchal society and to the importance of freedom in her life. Although Edna is not ready to give up her life for complete freedom, the change in her is evident and her awakening leads her to become the unique woman. As the narrator presents Edna to be a child in this passage, her growth is incomplete resulting in her failed attempt to liberate herself. Nonetheless, this is her awakening, her enlightenment to her direction and desire in life.

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]

Better Essays
971 words (2.8 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]

Better 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]

Better 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]

Better 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]

Better 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]

Better 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]

Better Essays
1462 words (4.2 pages)

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]

Better Essays
1498 words (4.3 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]

Better Essays
1646 words (4.7 pages)