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Gender Roles In The Awakening, By Kate Chopin

analytical Essay
737 words
737 words
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The novel The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, sparked much controversy among the nation with topics of marital infidelity and most importantly, gender roles. This story set in Louisiana, centered on around a woman that questions and fails to meet societies standards, as well as roles as a wife and mother. Her failures and struggles as a woman allow us to gain a better understanding about gender roles in the late 1800s. The theme of gender roles is shown through the character of Edna Pontellier. From the start of The Awakening it becomes clear that Edna does not fulfill the traditional duties a wife or mother would during this time period, such as supporting her husband and caring for the children. While vacationing in Grand Isle, Louisiana, Léonce speaks of how he is disappointed in his wife. After coming home …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how kate chopin's novel the awakening sparked controversy with topics of marital infidelity and gender roles in the late 1800s.
  • Analyzes how the theme of gender roles is shown through the character of edna pontellier in the awakening.
  • Analyzes how women were supposed to assist their husbands in the 1800s, which causes conflict between edna and léonce when he is upset about his social standing and financial problems than the emotions of his wife.
  • Analyzes how edna's character is lost throughout the novel and feels that the responsibly of motherhood does not suit her.
  • Analyzes how gender roles are illustrated when looking at the male characters in this novel. léonce is a successful businessman and when he travels for work, edna becomes romantically evolved with robert, who devotes himself to her.
  • Analyzes how kate chopin created characters that parallel the inequalities and differing roles of men and women in the late 1800s.

She questions her role as a wife and mother and is searching for freedom. Edna begins painting as a way to reach some independence and self-worth. She begins to admire and build a friendship with Mademoiselle Reise because she sees how independent a woman can be. Another moment in the novel when she feels a since of re-birth is when she swims in the ocean alone for the first time, which is foreshadowing to her death. This illustrates that during this time period it was almost unheard of for women to do things on their own and for themselves. Gender roles are also illustrated when looking at the male characters in this novel. Léonce is a successful businessman and when he travels for work Edna becomes romantically evolved with a young man named Robert, whom devotes himself to her for the summer. He is very careful about the way he speaks to Edna, for example he calls her “my dear” because he acts like Léonce has a possession over her. Léonce even visits a doctor to talk about his concerns for Edna when she expresses her “rights of a

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