The Awakening By Clara Barton

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Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was a game changer in both the Civil War and modern war efforts. Not only did Barton introduce new ways of bringing care to wounded soldiers, she also transformed the ways people viewed women working on the battlefield. Clara Barton was the first woman to stand up for the better of both soldiers on the battlefield and women in the working force. Similar to Clara Barton, Kate Chopin’s protagonist Edna Pontellier, in her novel, The Awakening, serves as a turning point in the Victorian Era for women through her feminist ideals and rebellions against the norms of society. For example, Edna pursues herself as an individual rather than conforming to the expectations of the world around her. Edna also pushes the envelope by exploring her sexuality, a scandalous action for a married woman in the Victorian Era. Lastly Edna abandons all ideals of being a perfect domestic housewife and mother in order to follow her passions and become an artist. Through these scandalous actions Edna Pontellier carves a path for women to follow in her footsteps to liberation and individuality. In the first place, Edna breaks free from society’s rigid mold in order to find herself, not conforming to the expectations of the men in her life and having the courage to fight for her independence. Throughout the course of the novel, Edna works to find her place in life. The first time Edna begins “to realize her position in the universe as a human being” rather than as her husband’s possession is during the exposition at Grand Isle, where she spent the summer (17). Although she does not fully comprehend what she is feeling, she realizes that she does not want to be another woman who submits to the power of her husba... ... middle of paper ... ...e shameful ways. For instance, Edna acts in a very scandalous way when she is spending time with Alcée, which would cause uproar between women of the nineteenth century and their husbands. Lastly, Edna petitions for acceptance of women as strong individuals by leaving behind domestic responsibility and pursuing a career of her own. By using her time to make art, which she ends up selling to pay for a new house, Edna shows the world around her that women can be as responsible and hard working as men. This novel was extremely offensive to men in 1899 because of Edna’s feminism and refusal to submit to the rules and regulations of her overbearing society. By challenging the men in her society and taking control over her own life, Edna Pontellier sets the stage for other women to join her in her fight to change the way women were treated and viewed in the Victorian Era.

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