There are constant boundaries and restrictions imposed on Edna Pontellier that ignite Edna’s struggle for freedom. Edna is a young Creole wife and mother in a high-class society. Leonce Pontellier, her husband is declared “…the best husband in the world”, while Edna sits and feels unsatisfied with her marriage. Edna did not respect her husband as the other women did. Leonce condemned Edna for neglecting their children. Edna’s mind was at rest concerning the present material needs of her children. Edna’s thoughts are clouded with her unhappiness, one night she awakes and sits in the night air and cries. She does not know how to explain her crying, but the reader is able to understand that it is because she is unhappy with her life.
When her husband and children are gone, she moves out of the house and purses her own ambitions. She starts painting and feeling happier. “There were days when she was very happy without knowing why. She was happy to be alive and breathing when her whole being seemed to be one with the sunlight, the color, the odors, the luxuriant warmth of some perfect Southern day” (Chopin 69). Her sacrifice greatly contributed to her disobedient actions. Since she wanted to be free from a societal rule of a mother-woman that she never wanted to be in, she emphasizes her need for expression of her own passions. Her needs reflect the meaning of the work and other women too. The character of Edna conveys that women are also people who have dreams and desires they want to accomplish and not be pinned down by a stereotype.
Madame Ratignolle simply does not understand Edna; to her, sacrificing one’s life is the utmost that a mother can do for her children. It is as if Edna was not even “talking the same language.” In fact, the two women might well be speaking different languages. Unlike Madame Ratignolle who seems to have a baby every couple of years, Edna’s head is not filled exclusively with thoughts about her children. Whereas Madame Ratignolle is motherly at all times, Edna often seems irritated by her role as mother, and her attentions to her children often occur as an afterthought. Madame Ratignolle’s entire being is bound to her children; Edna’s being is of her own design. For her there is more to life than marriage and babies and social obligations. Edna might well, at least in this passage, be asserting an early version of what Betty Friedan discusses in The Feminine Mystique.
In The Awakening by Kate Chopin, we are able to see a different view of society in the 1890’s.The book relates to the romantic era of the time, which in the book is shown through Edna Pontellier. The role of the women is questioned because of the action of Edna Pontellier and her worldview is different than the average women in the 1890’s. Kate Chopin compares to a sense, Edna and her friend Adèle Ratignolle as the ‘average’ women. The main topics of the romantic era, which shape her worldview is shown throughout the book is nature, rebellion and escape as shown in the lecture by Dr. Szabo.
From all this chaos, Edna is consistently trying to find and express herself. She has a strong feeling towards being set free and the importance of herself to her. “I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself. I can’t make it more clear; it’s only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me.” (47). What Edna is stating, is much deeper than a simple feeling on how she would not give herself away for her children. She’s expressing her emotions on the creativity of feministic thoughts and feels who you are as your own person is essential. Another example is, "You have been a very, very foolish boy, wasting your time dreaming of impossible things when you speak of Mr. Pontellier setting me free! I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier's possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose. If he were to say, 'Here, Robert, take her and be happy; she is yours,' I should laugh at you both." (108). This shows Edna again exploring feminist thoughts and the feeling that she is not an object. Kate Chopin shows many of the same feelings and readers see this through characters like Edna and other literary sources. As an article states, “Chopin herself stood naked in her exploration of female creativity
Edna holds a set of firm feministic beliefs and views paternal customs as suffocating and unnecessary. “Even as a child, she had lived her own small life all within
In the novella The Awakening by Kate Chopin, the main character Edna Pontellier “becomes profoundly alienated from traditional roles required by family, country, church, or other social institutions and is unable to reconcile the desire for connection with others with the need for self-expression” (Bogard). The novella takes place in the South during the 1800’s when societal views and appearances meant everything. There were numerous rules and expectations that must be upheld by both men and women, and for independent, stubborn, and curious women such as Edna, this made life challenging. Edna expressed thoughts and goals far beyond her time that made her question her role in life and struggle to identify herself, which caused her to break societal conventions, damage her relationships, and ultimately lose everything.
With a husband and two children at the age of twenty eight, Edna Pontillier realized that the mother-wife life was not for her. With her new found independence Edna’s husband was unsure of how to handle his new untraditional wife. “I came to consult—no, not precisely to consult—to talk to you about Edna. I don't know what ails her.”(pg. 109) Mr. Pontillier is a loving and good husband but, his slight narcissistic personality causes him to lose touch with his wife. Mr. Pontillier buys Edna bonbons and compliments her in front of their friends but it would seem that he enjoys spending time with his friends and working more than he values his time with his wife. “Coming back to dinner?" his wife called after him. He halted a moment and shrugged his shoulders.”(pg. 8) The only reason Mrs. Pontillier stays with her husband for so long is because of her children. Although the Pontillier children are not major characters they help demonstrate her true commitment. Edna would rather die than let her children think their mother left them to be with another man. “She thought of Leonce and the children. They were a part of her life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her, body...
As the novel The Awakening opens, the reader sees Edna Pontellier as one who might seem to be a happy married woman living a secure, fulfilled life. It is quickly revealed, though, that she is deeply oppressed by a male dominated society, evident through her marriage to Leonce. Edna lives a controlled life in which there is no outlet for her to develop herself as the individual who she is. Her marriage to Leonce was more an act of rebellion from her parents than an act of love for Leonce. She cares for him and is fond of him, but had no real love for him. Edna’s inability to awaken the person inside her is also shown through her role as a “mother-woman”. She loves and cares for her children a great deal, but does not fit into the Creole mother-society in which other women baby and over protect their children.
The biggest part of the story was the social aspect of the city and the common man’s appeal. For the first, Edna Pontellier was described as “independent and solitude.” In this new generation, people were seen rebelling to the earlier generation. In a way, this novel almost exactly parallels to the social system shown in the Great Gastby. Many women in this novel were still seen as the “Victorian” style, but many were want their full rights and independence along right up with the men. Often in the earlier ages, men were to be “the man” and show his affections in his own way and be open to the women. However, multiple times in this film, Edna was seen as the one who took her own course of action, waiting for the man she loved to show his expressions toward her.