Pursuing the New Life

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Pursuing the New Life Women of the 1800s struggled through life, and fought for the same rights that men had. They were often stuck in relationships that made them unhappy. Kate Chopin wrote The Awakening hoping to demonstrate the life of a woman searching for a new life. Chopin lived the life of a curious woman in the 1800s. Normally “… the role [of wifehood] has traditionally satisfied a woman’s love and for a feeling of belonging” (Skaggs, 2) but for Chopin, the circumstance was different. She believed that becoming a wife and a mother forced her to subordinate herself from masculine authority. She lost many people in her life and had to begin supporting her family at a very young age. Then, later in her life, “she found herself thrust into another new role, adjusting again to new relationships with people and to a new image of herself” (Skaggs, 2). All of these experiences in Chopin’s life helped her to develop the main character of her novel; a young woman striving for love, freedom and independence. Edna Pontellier, the main character of The Awakening, attempts to find a new life through which she can pursue her dreams of finding love and gaining independence. After an “accidental” marriage, Edna is trapped in an obedient life. She does not passionately love her husband and continues to tolerate her children, while she dreams of a better life that she would be able to truly enjoy. Edna is expected to please her husband, care for her children, and not anything more. Subsequently, she stumbles upon an awakening with the help of a young man named Robert Lebrun. The awakening assists her in a search for her secret persona. This inquisitive woman begins to explore new opportunities and finds a light to guide her to the ... ... middle of paper ... ... that Chopin created Edna to reflect her own feelings of life. Edna Pontellier separates from her submissive life to pursue freedom, independence, and love with another man. She strives for freedom so that she can uncover her hidden persona. Independence and love fall into the same faction. Edna wants independence from her husband so she can find someone who will give her the support she needs. All of these aspects contribute to the growth of a new and improved life. She wishes to fit in and pursue her goals. However, in the end, she chooses freedom over everything else. Jumping into the water, thinking about Robert, Leonce, and her children, Edna surrenders to the ocean. Ironically, the ocean is a symbol of freedom. Many people say that “Edna was the precursor of the modern era American woman…” (Musere). She is the inspiration to other women all over the world.
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