While many women felt dissatisfied with their lives, they would not come out and say it. However, in 1899, Kate Chopin wrote The Awakening, which showed women that they were not alone. This novel showed the discriminatory views and treatment towards women. It also distinctly indicates the dissatisfaction that women felt in their lives. Because of the roles that society has given them, women are not able to seek and fulfill their own psychological and sexual drives.
It is her way of rebelling against society and fulfilling many suppressed wants and desires. It leaves her empty, however, as this passion did not come from love. Affairs and liaisons are not necessary parts of life, but for Edna Pontellier they help awaken her true sexual desires, passions, and needs. Her husband provides the needed cover for society and helps her to realize what she is lacking in life. Robert supplies the love, the passion, and the fairy tale romance.
Jane does not let her affections overtake her morality, though her return to Mr. Rochester proves passion to be stronger than reason. Women in the Victorian era were held to an inferior status. Many had to hide their feelings, conceal their creativity and they were sought to conform to societal rules. Jane Eyre never quite followed this, growing up in a contemptuous household Eyre acted out, calling her provider, Mrs. Reed, "deceitful" and describing her upbringing as "miserable cruelty" (Bronte 37, 36). Jane's upbringing instills her strong belief in justice toward those who treat others unfairly.
She does not fear being alone, she is afraid of being without herself. It is also revealed that her society is often against her self-discovering favoring a more traditional female role. In its final scene, The Awakening offers readers a more complex method to obtain freedom, death. Edna’s suicide reveals her final awakening, breaking free from all the pressures that bind her. Edna’s awakenings in Grand Isle and in New Orleans set her up for failure by forcing her to understand her lack of options.
This implicit rule about following what society thinks and sees as right impacts the characters and constricts their decisions. In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, the main characters, Edna Pontellier and Robert Lebrun, are trapped by the enforcement of cultural boundaries, such as the constraints on love and gender roles and the importance of reputations in their societies. A free spirited woman, Edna Pontellier wants just one thing, freedom. Wanting to get away from her family and explore the rest of the world Edna marries Leoncé Pontellier. In fact Edna’s lack of feelings for Leoncé is established when she states, “He [Leoncé] pleased her, his absolute devotion flattered her… Add to this the violent opposition of her father and her sister Margaret with her marriage to a Catholic, and we need seek no further for the motives which led her to accept Monsieur Pontellier
Your slumber is disturbed and you can’t manage to return to your wonderful dream. Well, we know of a character who experiences this; Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin’s novella, The Awakening (1899). Edna develops a fantasy life that is beyond her reality and eventually realises it is unattainable due to Creole paradigms of womanhood. She attempts to defy these expectations but deduces that she can’t through the conflicting perspectives of those around her. Some support her but some confine her and it is her final reflection of this conflict that determines her tragic actions.
They had many restrictions placed on them and often weren’t even allowed to walk outside without proper accompaniment. Because the expectations placed on women were so rigid and absurd, some feminist authors from the time ridiculed these social standards in their writing. Famous novelist Jane Austen was known for satirizing many social customs of the Regency Period in her romantic fiction novels, placing a special emphasis on women’s rights. Pride and Prejudice in particular depicted protagonist Elizabeth Bennet as a smart, headstrong, free thinking individual who didn’t let negative outside forces sway her beliefs. In Pride and Prejudice, Austen challenges the social propriety and creates her own ideals for women through Elizabeth Bennet’s independence, intelligence, and stron... ... middle of paper ... ...stantly trying to be agreeable and passive and allowed her to speak her mind and act upon her values.
Ramsay, Lily Briscoe is a free-spirited painter who represents the other side of the feminist argument. A character that closely reflects Woolf’s own worldview, Lily cannot come to comprehend why women are treated with ignominy and attempts to challenge the misogynistic standard around her. Although she fiercely admires Mrs. Ramsay, Lily rejects the digressive ways that she thinks: “She took shelter from the reverence that covered all women; she felt herself praised” (46), she wants to be able to feel empowered and important without being grouped together with other women in a negative context. Because Lily wants to be treated as an individual with her own goals and opinions and the opportunity to live them out, she finds herself conflicted when she sees how other women accept the gender conventions because she wants to fit in, but does not want to conform. However, she dismisses her doubts because she is able to explain to herself that she does not need to heed to societal pressure.
Sue Bridehead’s nature and way of life conflicts with what society prescribes her to be as a woman, as she tries to balance living happily without social pressures infringing on her individuality. Unfortunately for Sue, as Mill’s essay explains, the customs of society are so engrained within its people, not even Sue can abscond from what is expected from her as a woman. J.S. Mill and Sue Bridehead converge with the belief in natural law and equality of the sexes, in the rejection of marriage as a social reform, and on the detrimental effects of social pressure on a woman. Sue Bridehead embodies many of the characteristics of Mill’s ideals about women, though as Mill’s essay explains, Sue is also a product of her society, and unable to escape its pressures, in her breakdown, forfeits her individuality and independence to ease her anxiety and guilt.
Responsibility and Duty as they Relate to The Awakening Most cultures put heavy emphasis upon responsibility and duty. The culture portrayed in Kate Chopin's book The Awakening visibly reflects a similar emphasis. The main character finds herself wanting to stray from her responsibilities and embrace her intense desire for personal fulfillment. Edna's choice to escape shows two elements: rebellion to the suppression of her adventurous spirit and the lack of "fulfillment" in her relationship. Although she embraces her new found freedoms, she commits suicide at the denouement of the book due to her frustration with the world around her.