Breaking the Bonds of Gender Stereotypes Throughout history women have been accustomed to and forced into being house wives and caretakers of their husband and children. Having to put aside their dreams and desires that extend past their homes and families. In the novel The Awakening written by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier challenges the roles and duties placed upon her by the generations of women who came before her. She no longer let her wishes come second to the stereotypical gender roles of the late eighteenth century. Chopin portrays a woman’s desire to break away from social norms and live for herself through the main character Edna Pontellier buying her own house, having a relationship with another man while being married, and ultimately taking her own life when she felt she had no other way to be truly happy.
In her article, Maria Anastasopoulou writes how ‘’Edna…is an individual who undergoes a change of consciousness that is designated by the concept of the awakening in the title of the novel’’ (19). The novel, as Anastosopoulou continues, is about the ‘’emerging individuality of a woman who refuses to be defined by the prevailing stereotype of passive femininity’’ (20). At the beginning, Chopin writes how her husband looked at Edna ‘’as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage’’ (4). Edna accepts this submissive position, unlike Margaret. She goes about her life rather passively, a subordinate to her husband.
Although Vindication of the Rights of Women was written in the late eighteenth century, Shelley applied it to women in the early nineteenth century for the reason in the twenty-six years since her mother’s book women have not changed. They were indeed the same as when Wollstonecraft wrote her book. Thus making the women of the novel perfect examples of women during the early nineteenth. Frankenstein provides it readers with prime examples of women in the early nineteenth century while also providing us with a cautionary tale. Frankenstein is an amazing novel that provides it readers with looks into many different aspects of the nineteenth century the most important being women.
In reading the book you realise that it is entirely possible for woman to lose their rights completely, and the social clock, in relation to woman in society, could be turned back. The Handmaid's Tale is set in the future an any signs of the rights of women as we know them are banished and barren, except in the pain ridden memories of women living reduced roles. Charlotte Bronte, although more subtle in her approach than Atwood, displays just as much passion concerning rights of women. At several points she acknowledges that women's role in society is questionable, and should be a prominent issue in women's minds. I thoroughly enjoyed reading both books and feel that both are excellent pieces of literature that put across a strong, important message.
Her time period consisted of other female authors that focused on the same central theme during the era: exposing the unfairness of the patriarchal society, and women’s search for selfhood, and their search for identity. In Chopin’s novel The Awakening, she incorporates the themes mentioned above to illustrate the veracity of life as she understood it. A literary work approached by the feminist critique seeks to raise awareness of the importance and higher qualities of women. Women in literature may uncover their strengths or find their independence, raising their own self recognition. Several critics deem Chopin as one of the leading feminists of her age because she was willing to publish stories that dealt with women becoming self-governing, who stood up for themselves and novels that explored the difficulties that they faced during the time.
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 identity. Feminism is commonly thought of as a tool for educating society on the rights of women.
Austen’s novel follows Elizabeth Bennet ‘s struggle as she breaks these expectations of a woman. Jane Austen introduces her characters together at the beginning to enforce the strong family ties running through Pride and Prejudice. We learn that Elizabeth Bennet is stuck in the middle of a family of five sisters whose sole purposes are to get married. Mrs. Bennet’s only job in the household is to find suitable matches for each one of her daughters. In the first couple pages of the novel we see prejudice of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet for their daughters.
Katherine Mansfield, a writer known for challenging her readers’ notion of femininity, manages in “The Daughters of the Late Colonel” to further challenge the perception of women in twentieth century society. Mansfield outlines a relationship between two sisters, Josephine and Constantia; as well, Mansfield frames each woman’s struggle in coping with the loss of her father, Colonel Pinner. Each sister is dependent on the late Colonel and without him this dependence becomes over exaggerated and mindless. In part XII, the women seem to achieve a moment of enlightenment but by the end, each woman’s sense of clarity is gone. Mansfield explores each sister’s own female individuality despite a lack of maternal guidance.
The Awakening of Feminism In the novella The Awakening, the author Kate Chopin depicts the life of a female protagonist named Edna Pontellier. Edna, a wife, a mother and socialite, refuses her societal roles impressed upon her by her husband and peers. Two key female relationships in this story act as a catalyst to Edna Pontellier’s awakening. Edna’s dramatic discovery of self defines her character throughout the novella, detailing her feministic view on the societal roles of Creole women during the late nineteen hundreds. Edna chooses individuality by expressing her artistic interests and by exploring her sexuality.
Many great authors manage to introduce the major themes in their work in the opening scene. By doing so, they hook their readers and excite them to read more. Kate Chopin masters this in her novel The Awakening. Her novel is about a "woman who has led the conventional life of an upper-middle-class wife and mother until the age of twenty-eight, then finds herself feeling so frustrated and suffocated that she is willing to defy the conventions of Louisiana Creole society to gain spiritual independence" (Delaney 1). Chopin hints at three themes in the first chapter of her novel; identity, love, and marriage.