The Role Of Women In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1256 Words6 Pages
“The Awakening is…an excruciatingly exact dissection of the ways in which society distorts a woman’s true nature” (Wolff). As stated by literary critic Cynthia Griffin Wolff, Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, portrays Edna Pontellier’s awakening and the reality of what it was like to be a woman living in the 1800s. Edna spends her summer in Grand Isle where she is confronted by a Creole society which she has never experienced before. As the summer ends, Edna finds herself questioning her sexual and artistic nature, parts of herself that she had abandoned after getting married. Edna is constantly pressured by her friends, her husband, and her lovers to conform to what each of them, or otherwise known as society, expects of her. Edna fails to find a way of pleasing everyone, which leads her to a rude awakening in the sea. Edna’s awakening poses the…show more content…
The comparison of Edna’s friends, Adéle Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz, controls how Edna views herself as a woman. While both friends want the best for Edna, they have opposing views on the role women should play in society. Adéle is the conformed motherly figure, while Mme. Reisz is the single artist who would not dare conform to what society expects of her. Though they are different, Edna looks up to both of these women. Literary critic Carole Stone states, “Certainly this describes Edna’s situation as she seeks out her two contrasting women friends for validation, Mme. Reisz and Adéle Ratignolle.” The two women inspire Edna to think and speak about things she would never have thought before her awakening. Adéle brings out Edna’s inner feelings and thoughts, while at the same time, reminds her of the pains of childbirth and motherly duties. She shows Edna how a woman can put aside her feelings of passion and artistry through motherhood. Chopin writes, “She was keeping up her music on account of
Open Document