Edna's Transformation in The Awakening by Kate Chopin

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The Awakening by Kate Chopin, is a story of a woman who breaks free from the restraints put on her by society. During the first part of the story, Edna was a normal wife and mother; she was restricted to her stereotype and expected to stay at home, be loyal to her husband, and care for her children. As the story progresses and Edna redefines herself, we eventually are reading about a new character entirely. She ignores the internalized concept of being a mother and wife and becomes a new woman. She cheats on her husband, disregards her children, and defies her societal expectations. At the end of the story, Edna Pontellier commits suicide to free herself from her confusing and scandalous life. During the first phase of Edna’s transformation (awakening), she realizes that she is not content with her lifestyle; she wants to could change her life and achieve freedom and bliss, so she turns her pursues this new goal. Chopin describes Edna’s perspective of her life during the beginning of her awakening: “There were days when she was unhappy, she did not know why—when it did not seem worth while to be glad or sorry, to be alive or dead; when life appeared to her like a grotesque pandemonium and humanity like worms struggling blindly toward inevitable annihilation. She could not work on such a day, nor weave fancies to stir her pulses and warm her blood.” (97). She recognizes the pointlessness of the life she is living, she realizes that without change, her life has no direction. If she continued with her uneventful existence, she would never experience anything she wants to experience. Her pessimistic view of her world is one of the key reasons that she undergoes her transformation; she was thirsting for an adventure so that she coul... ... middle of paper ... the comparison and foreshadowing, but when I looked back and reread, I could see how she planned everything from the start. I made the connection and I started to see more foreshadowing in quotes (when Mademoiselle Reisz warns Edna), and it made just a little bit more sense. Altogether, I think that the book was comprehensible and worthwhile. Edna’s hunt for freedom inevitably ended in death; it was inexorable, it is the only way for her to leave everything behind and be free forever. I’ve looked at the theme in many ways, and I can’t see a way in which I can relate to it. I don’t feel limited by society and I don’t feel I need to change anything about my life or myself. Edna had a completely opposite life from mine, she was challenged by society, and was made weak by herself and everyone and everything around her, so she freed herself; this is what killed Edna.
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