The Awakening: Romanticism, Realism, and Local Color

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The Awakening: Romanticism, Realism, and Local Color

Imagine being far out into the middle of the ocean and at that moment, having to make a choice between judgment and individuality, death and life? In 1899, Kate Chopin composed a captivating novel titled The Awakening. Throughout Chopin's day, the work was regarded as nonsense and a waste of time on her part. Critics found the main character's rebellion to be foolish and unlawful. At that age, it was believed firmly that women should be nothing less than completely loyal to their husbands and should joyfully care for any children that they had while their spouse was away, hard at work. Edna, the central character, did not follow this standard. She says specifically that she would not give-up herself for her children. She is not one known to submit to her husband's every whim. Chopin brought Romanticism into play in a realistic setting with this individual. To these literary devices, she blends local color.

By manipulating Romanticism, Kate Chopin stretches one's imagination and startles one's mind. Romanticism is both a literary and an artistic movement. It took place in the eighteenth and nineteenth century during which people expressed freedom and individuality and emotions in their works. Chopin shows Mrs. Pontellier's display of freedom and individuality when Edna refuses to go in when her husband Leonce tells her to do so; rather, she stays out on the hammock and tells him to proceed inside without her. Romantics also loved exotic places and chose to display a character that follows his or her own heart. Chopin demonstrates this in her work when Edna realizes th...

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...because Tuesday night social calls were a pastime, Realism because Leonce believed that Edna should put herself on hold every Tuesday night for company, and Romanticism because she chose not to stay.

Kate Chopin is now considered a wonderful author for the same piece that was once prohibited. People realize that she was just before her time. She blended a Romanticism which is now common to out time with a Realism that was true to her time. She enhanced it with a mélange of Local Color into her setting to give a full outlook of Edna Pontellier's world. Seeing everything that she has to go through, which option should be chosen? Would it be better to live without freedom of individuality or die trying to get it? With all of the pressures that prevailed over Edna, she chose death.
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