Edna Pontellier's so-called "awakening" is her realization that she is a disposable object in her environment, the patriarchal Creole society of the 19th century. She slowly recognizes in The Awakening that she has never been honest with herself about her true feelings and desires, and grows to understand that a woman in her lifetime will never be seen as an independent person capable of making decisions independently. However, her "awakening" is false; though she makes these realizations, she can not in the end handle her new vision of independent life, and continually places herself in the realms of male dominance by the situations she creates.
Many people tried to teach her to swim, but rendered her unteachable. However, on one fateful day, Edna took the plunge into the sea and began to swim around “like the little tottering, stumbling, clutching child, who of a sudden realizes its powers, and walks for the first time aline, boldly and with over-confidence.” (Chopin 46) With her miraculous newfound ability to swim, therefore able to increase the distance between her and the island, where she feels different because she is not the stereotypical mother whose duty it is to serve their husband and children. All of a sudden, Edna, “grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before.” (46) Edna realized her desire for independence, and the water baptized her into fulfilling this desire, forcing her awakening. Furthermore, while Edna and Robert were crossing the sea to get to church, “Edna felt as if she were being borne away from some anchorage which had held her fast, whose
During the summer of Edna's awakening, the sea's influence increases as she learns how to swim, an event which holds much more significance that her fellow vacationers realize. “To her friends, she has accomplished a simple feat; to Edna, she has accomplished a miracle” (Showalter 114). She has found a peace and tranquility in swimming which gives her the feeling of freedom. The narrator tells us that as she swims, "she seem[s] to be reaching out for the unlimited in which to lose herself" (Chopin 74). She sees the freedom t...
Kate Chopin’s The Awakening is a story about a well to do young woman, Edna Pontellier, who lives with her family in Louisiana during the late 1890’s. Set in a variety of scenes, it follows Edna as she engages on a personal journey of increasing autonomy, continually seeking both greater happiness and greater personal independence in the hope of leading a more meaningful and fulfilling life. In so doing, the novel portrays societal expectations for women in the post-war South during the late 1800’s, and shows the difficulties they faced if they refused to conform. The place of women in society can be seen in the way that the women in the novel act and speak, particularly in regards to their husbands and children, but also to others in general.
In the novel, “the ocean symbolizes Edna's "awakening" to a life filled with freedom and independence” (Nickerson). On a hot summer evening Robert and Edna go bathing. Although Edna does not wish to go and initially declines his offer, something inside is compelling her to go down to the water. It is there in the seductive ocean that Edna's awakening begins.
Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, explores the boundaries that kept women from expressing themselves and ever being their true self. The main figure, Edna Pontellier, becomes a very influential figure in feminism through her valiant attempt to live an "awakened" life that she never had the chance to previously. However, the societal norms of the day, coupled with the surrounding characters around Edna, lead to her decision to commit suicide, which does not parallel the strength that Edna strove for throughout the entire book. It is for these reasons that, although Edna became a strong woman throughout the book, her final decision to commit suicide was unwarranted and took away all that she worked towards in the blink of an eye.
“A feeling of exultation overtook her, as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul” implies the tremendous joy that encourages her to shout, as well as underscores the significance of the experience in terms of the greater awakening, for the experience actually does provide Edna with the ability to control her own body and soul for the first time. Her “daring and reckless” behavior, her overestimation of strength, and the desire to “swim far out, where no woman had swum before” all suggest the tragic conclusion that awaits Edna. Whether her awakening leads her to want too much, or her desires are not fully compatible with the society in which she lives, she goes too far in her awakening. Amazed at the ease of her new power, she specifically does not join the other groups of people in the water, but rather goes off to swim alone. Indeed, her own awakening ultimately ends up being solitary, particularly in her refusals to join in social expectations. Here, the water presents her with space and solitude, with the “unlimited in which to lose herself.
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.
An Analysis of The Awakening The first thing I would like to do is go through and pick out the chapters I found to be significant in the novel. Chapter 1: *there is symbolism of a well trained “caged” bird, (like we read in the hypertext) which represents what wives were to be in Edna’s lifetime *well trained *speaks of pleasantries *begins with Summer a time of beauty, fullness and fruition *Grand Isle *vacation from New Orleans life (imprisonment) *ends at Summer after 1 yr *this vacation follows Edna back to New Orleans where she gradually begins to see how trapped she really is *it is after this vacation that Edna begins to “awake” Chapter 2: *Edna was from Kentucky and married a Creole *this is a conflict in religion *she is Presbetyrian and he’s Catholic
The Awakening, a well known book by Kate Chopin, written about a lady during the “Awakening” when so much chaos and trouble was going through the streets of the city. The main character of the book is Edna Pontellier. Throughout the book, Edna had many dilemma’s in her own personal life, and in advance, she had her life in chaos along with the society that affected her as well. 19th century America was a whole new generation coming up to a new generation creating new ideas and then displaying them, which the public got the fact that they had just as much right to do it as anybody else. This created radical change and completed various social influences and generally affected other governmental groups as well. “The Awakening” in American society brought several changes in roles of women in societal purposing, generally creating major impact of political, economic, and societal changes curving to the pleasure of the public, creating a brand new era of United States identity.