To conceive the thought of women expressing rage and blatantly retaliating against authority was a defiance against the traditional role of women. Jane Eyre sent controversy through the literary community. For not only was it written by a woman but marked the first use of realistic characters. Jane's complexity lied in her being neither holy good nor evil. She was poor and plain in a time when society considered "an ugly woman a blot on the face of creation."
Kate Chopin boldly uncovered an attitude of feminism to an unknowing society in her novel The Awakening. Her excellent work of fiction was not acknowledged at the time she wrote it because feminism had not yet come to be widespread. Chopin rebelled against societal norms (just like Edna) of her time era and composed the novel, The Awakening, using attitudes of characters in favor to gender, variations in the main character, descriptions and Edna's suicide to show her feminist situation. Society during Chopin's time era alleged women to be a feeble, dependent gender whose place laid nothing above mothering and housekeeping. In The Awakening, Chopin conveys the simple attitudes of society toward women mainly through her characters Leonce, Edna, Madame Ratignolle, and Madame Reisz.
Kate Chopin thought quite differently. The boldness Kate Chopin takes in portraying women in the late nineteenth century can be seen throughout The Awakening and other short stories. The following is an overview of her dramatic writing style. Elaine Showalter states, "Chopin went boldly beyond the work of her precursors in writing about women's longing for sexual and personal emancipation." (170).
Avoiding social norms is grueling, where conservative repressive societal demands are powerful. Fern and Chopin portrayed their character to show us that not every woman can accepts their fate and suffers quietly. Many women rebel and break out of their prescribed social role. They try to listen their personal needs and desire, and they attempt to change their position rather than following the social pressures they cannot manage or control.
Romanticism in The Awakening Even though it was written in the Victorian era, Kate Chopin's The Awakening has several romantic qualities, especially with the main character, as she struggles between society's obligations and her own desires. Chopin writes about a woman who continues to reject the society around her, a notion too radical for Chopin's peers. Edna Pontellier has the traditional role of both wife and mother, but deep down she wants something more, difficult to do in the restricted Victorian society. The typical Victorian woman maintained her sphere which deemed "women's personal lives center around home, husband, and children." (Victorian Women, p. 118).
The Awakening by Kate Chopin contradicts the popular nineteenth century image of the ideal southern woman as the main character, Edna Pontellier, gradually realizes her dissatisfaction with her life and discovers she was meant to live for something more. This kind of thinking was unheard of during this time period, and the novel soon raised significant controversy and was “banned from the [libraries’] shelves in response to negative and damning reviews” (Dyer 19). The novel redefines femininity by showing that women do not have to be limited by domesticity or submission. At the beginning of the novel, it is obvious that Edna’s marriage to Léonce is not entirely stable. Like every other woman during this time, she is seen as inferior to him.
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.
Literary Essay: Macbeth The “strong independent woman” is an amalgamation of modern attitudes towards women. Feminist, outspoken, and sexually liberated, this entity breaks the “mother figure” stereotype usually attributed to women. Current society reinforces these unconventional notions, however this was not so in Shakespearian times. In Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, most female characters are portrayed in “unstereotypical” ways. Lady Macbeth’s “unsex me speech” leads her to acquire male attributes throughout the play, Lady Macduff openly criticizes her husband for leaving, and minor characters such as “the sailor’s wife” are inhospitable and unaccommodating.
Nowadays, when there are so many feministic coalitions, it is hard to imagine that once upon a time, females were not considered a part of society. Of course, the roles of women were reflected in the literature. However, because women did not have any status and were not expected to work, more often than not, they were stuck in loveless marriages. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened in the following stories: "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant and "The Story of An Hour" by Kate Chopin. In both these stories, authors portray two very different yet alike women who have trouble accepting their fate and are trying to reject the life of women of their class.
When Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" was published at the end of the 19th Century, many reviewers took issue with what they perceived to be the author's defiance of Victorian proprieties, but it is this very defiance with which has been responsible for the revival in the interest of the novel today. This factor is borne out by Chopin's own words throughout her Preface -- where she indicates that women were not recipients of equal treatment. (Chopin, Preface ) Edna takes her own life at the book's end, not because of remorse over having committed adultery but because she can no longer struggle against the social conventions which deny her fulfillment as a person and as a woman. Like Kate Chopin herself, Edna is an artist and a woman of sensitivity who believes that her identity as a woman involves more than being a wife and mother. It is this very type of independent thinking which was viewed as heretical in a society which sought to deny women any meaningful participation.