The wasted arousal

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Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, is a look at the society and expectation a woman must go through to be accepted as a mature women and remain true to herself. The setting is in 19th Century Creole New Orleans. Most write about The Awakening, which would include Edna Pontellier's awakening to her sexual self. Edna struggles against society, which pressures her to stay within acceptable social behavior. This is conflicting with her new found independence. The character of Edna Pontellier, is an insightful study of the weaknesses that prevents a woman from progressing toward self actualization. The author's personal experiences and astute observations are reflected in the themes of The Awakening. Kate Chopin was not only a well adjusted woman, but also a very independent one. She was born Catherine O’Flaherty on February 8, 1850 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Koloski) Having been raised in an all female household, Chopin acquired a strong sense of female independence during her youth. She overcame much sadness in her early life, having lost her father in a train accident when she was six and all four siblings before she turned twenty one. She had a happy marriage with Oscar Chopin, and was the mother of six children. During her residence in Cloutierville, Louisiana, Chopin flaunted the staid and frivolous conventions of her time, by "smoking Cuban cigarettes in public or lifting her skirts too high, deliberately revealing her ankles, when she crossed the town's one street" (Toth 117). Refusing to remarry after her husband's death, she left New Orleans to live with her mother in St. Louis, where she began writing to support the family. Kate Chopin exemplifies a woman who became independent, confident, and at peace with herself-... ... middle of paper ... ... University Press, 1969. Print Dyer, Joyce. The Awakening: A novel of Beginnings. New York: Twayne, 1993. Print Jacobs, Dorothy H. "The Awakening: A Recognition of Confinement." Kate Chopin Reconsidered: Beyond the Bayou. Ed. Lynda S Boren and Sara deSaussure Davis. Baton Rouge: Louisina State University Press, 1992. 86. Print Seyersted, Per. Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1969. Print Taylor, Helen. "Gender, Race and Region in the Writings of Grace King, Ruth McEnery Stuart, and Kate Chopin." The Awakening: An Authoritive Text Biographical and Historical Contexts Criticism. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1994. 299-309. Print Toth, Emily. "A new Bigraphical Approach." The Awakening: An Authoritative Text Biographical and Historical Contexts Critcism. Ed. Margo Culley. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 1994. Print
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