Women are not only Beautiful, but Equal Since the beginning of time, women have strived to achieve an equal status in society. The vast majority of women have rebelled against the norm for equal status. As if washing the dirt off one’s hands, women are forgotten for all of their achievements. The identity of women in the Western world has evolved from domesticity and servility, and moved toward their valuation as individuals of intellect, talent, and independence. The culture about women’s empowerment has been reflected in literature and history throughout many ages. In a famous 20th century novel –The Awakening by Kate Chopin– Edna, the protagonist of the novel, exemplifies the domestic identity of women. She is forced to stay home with her two children, but when she decides to relieve herself of her domestic responsibility, she is frowned upon by society. She is suffocated by society’s belief of women and averts to the philosophy of rebellion. Edna breaks the bond of loyalty that she and her husband had by cheating and fantasizing of other situations where she was not married. She rarely experiences regret and often emphasizes the motif of freedom through a pigeon house; which allows the reader to symbolize her freedom through the thought of birds. Kate Chopin uses The Awakening to express society’s feministic views on women; she explains the burden that women are forced to carry. Edna is later overwhelmed by the pressure society has on her, this causes her to unintentionally commit suicide, “Exhaustion was pressing upon and overpowering her. Perhaps Doctor Mandelet would have understood if she had seen him—but it was too late; the shore was far behind her, and her strength was gone” (Chopin, 126). In the late 1900’s, Al... ... middle of paper ... ...ut so are their male counterparts. Husbands are affected, sons are affected, and friends are affected. The idea of Sexism is not enforced by the opposite sex, men, but is cultured by those who accept and abide by society’s expectations of a woman’s reality. As Kathleen Hanna once said, “While sexism hurts women most intimately, it also damages men severely.” Every human has their own mind, their own decisions; if we let other people command us and make choices for us, we lose our sense of individuality and uniqueness. Sexism is a choice, a way of thinking that we can choose to accept, or deny. It affects the self and the community as a whole, and should not exist. As we can accept that the world is filled with tribulations such as sexism, it is not a concept that cannot go extinct, rather, should be used as a counter example of how we should behave in society.
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She uses The Awakening as an indictment of the restrictions put on women, highlighting the gender issues during her time that were deep seated and hotly debated. Women were property, and as such had no property rights and therefore very few options apart from marriage. Most women were completely dependent on men. They were expected to keep house and raise children, though many were unsuited to the task.29 The “voluntary motherhood” movement advocated for a woman’s right to choose if and when she would have a child30, a choice that was obviously not given to Edna, considering her feelings about motherhood. Chopin created a character that objected so strongly to the obligation of motherhood that she committed suicide, a shocking contradiction to the idea that the “mother-woman”31 was the
Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening” is wrought with symbolism, foreshadowing and careful diction choices. Many of the passages throughout the novel embody Edna’s awakening sense of self-reliance, independence and sexuality. These are sy...
Kate Chopin's novella The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a woman who throughout the novella tries to find herself. Edna begins the story in the role of the typical mother-woman distinctive of Creole society but as the novelette furthers so does the distance she puts between herself and society. Edna's search for independence and a way to stray from society's rules and ways of life is depicted through symbolism with birds, clothing, and Edna's process of learning to swim.
The Awakening sheds light on the desire among many women to be independent. Throughout the novel Edna conducts herself in a way that was disavowed by many and comes to the realization that her gender prevented her from pursuing what she believed would be an enjoyable life. As the story progresses Edna continues to trade her family obligations for her own personal pleasures. This behavior would not have been accepted and many even criticize the novel for even speaking about such activities. Kate Chopin essentially wrote about everything a women couldn’t do. Moreover, it also highlights the point that a man is able to do everything Edna did, but without the same
Critics of Kate Chopin's The Awakening tend to read the novel as the dramatization of a woman's struggle to achieve selfhood--a struggle doomed failure either because the patriarchal conventions of her society restrict freedom, or because the ideal of selfhood that she pursue is a masculine defined one that allows for none of the physical and undeniable claims which maternity makes upon women. Ultimately. in both views, Edna Pontellier ends her life because she cannot have it both ways: given her time, place, and notion of self, she cannot be a mother and have a self. (Simons)
Throughout history and literature women are often referred to as birds, especially those of domesticated species. Women being referred to as a pet corresponded to the rise of patriarchal society, “… from this point, civilization has seemed to trap women in stereotypes related to nature which are domesticated, like caged birds” (Clark 342). Women had to fit into the roles society formed for them, trapping them in a lifestyle not appealing to all women. In The Awakening, Kate Chopin uses avian symbolism to emphasize Edna’s entrapment, so as to show the stages of Edna’s awakening.
Society of the 19th century gave a heightened meaning to what it meant to be a women. According to the commonly known “code of true womanhood” women are supposed to be docile, domestic creations whose main concerns in life were to be raising children and submissiveness to their husbands. In the book The Awakening written by Kate Chopin; introduces the protagonist, Edna Pontellier a rebellious twenty-eight year old woman who is dissatisfied with the role of being a wife and mother, a woman who desires independence and sexual freedom. She soon discovers she doesn’t quite fit into the role that has been given to her. Through the use of symbolism, imagery, and irony. Chopin exposes expectations for women in order to be accepted during the Victorian
“The years that are gone seem like dreams—if one might go on sleeping and dreaming—but to wake up and find—oh! well! Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life” says Edna at her appointment with Doctor Mandelet (151). In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Edna is constantly at odds with her own fears – her independence; however, over the course of the novel, Chopin reveals a deeper side to Edna. She does not fear being alone, she is afraid of being without herself. It is also revealed that her society is often against her self-discovering favoring a more traditional female role. In its final scene, The Awakening offers readers a more complex method to obtain freedom, death. Edna’s suicide reveals her final awakening, breaking free from all the pressures that bind her.
In the novel, Chopin portrays Edna’s character development by stating, “She was seeing with different eyes and making the acquaintance of new conditions in herself” (Chopin 67) . This characterization of Edna allows the reader to understand that Edna is not happy with her life because of the feminine role that she must maintain. As a character, Edna is very daring and courageous to attempt to break the roles that women held in the 18th century. In an analysis of, “The Awakening”, Novels for Students stated, “The roles that Edna and Robert play in the story point out the unfairness of sexism and the repression of individual freedom that it causes” (Novels for Students). The use of characterization allows the theme of sexism to be illustrated through the roles that characters Edna and Robert play. Novels for Students further elicits their point by adding, “While no one thinks anything of Robert's attention to Edna, people would be appalled at knowing how Edna feels about him. Adèle, for example, is shocked and tries to warn Edna to be careful of her reputation” (Novels for Students). The preconceived notion that women must be faithful to their husbands, watch the kids, and fit the ideal picture of a housewife are all characteristics that Edna has difficulty conforming to. Author, Kate Chopin, captures
“I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself” (62). Edna tries explaining to Madame Ratignolle that this is something she is just beginning to understand from herself. She does not know why but she cannot bring herself to give up herself for her kids. The author Kate Chopin, who wrote the book The Awakening, explains through her novel societies’ demands and wishes for a woman, such as Edna, with a family. The book takes place in the late 19th century in New Orleans. In this time period however, Edna must become the obedient wife and stay home to take care of her kids and her husband. This however, is what Edna wants to do the least. The quote reveals right away Edna’s desire to become free of what society has placed upon her. Kate portrays the themes of freedom and independence by weaving throughout her novel the symbols of birds, such as the caged parrot, art, and the sea.
When Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" was published at the end of the 19th Century, many reviewers took issue with what they perceived to be the author's defiance of Victorian proprieties, but it is this very defiance with which has been responsible for the revival in the interest of the novel today. This factor is borne out by Chopin's own words throughout her Preface -- where she indicates that women were not recipients of equal treatment. (Chopin, Preface ) Edna takes her own life at the book's end, not because of remorse over having committed adultery but because she can no longer struggle against the social conventions which deny her fulfillment as a person and as a woman. Like Kate Chopin herself, Edna is an artist and a woman of sensitivity who believes that her identity as a woman involves more than being a wife and mother. It is this very type of independent thinking which was viewed as heretical in a society which sought to deny women any meaningful participation.
During the late nineteenth century, the time of protagonist Edna Pontellier, a woman's place in society was confined to worshipping her children and submitting to her husband. Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, encompasses the frustrations and the triumphs in a woman's life as she attempts to cope with these strict cultural demands. Defying the stereotype of a "mother-woman," Edna battles the pressures of 1899 that command her to be a subdued and devoted housewife. Although Edna's ultimate suicide is a waste of her struggles against an oppressive society, The Awakening supports and encourages feminism as a way for women to obtain sexual freedom, financial independence, and individual identity.
Kate Chopin’s The Awakening takes place in the late 19th century, in Grande Isle off the coast of Louisiana. The author writes about the main character, Edna Pontellier, to express her empowering quality of life. Edna is a working housewife,and yearns for social freedom. On a quest of self discovery, Edna meets Madame Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz, falls in and out of love,and eventually ends up taking her own life. Kate Chopin’s The Awakening shows how the main character Edna Pontellier has been trapped for so many years and has no freedom, yet Edna finally “awakens” after so long to her own power and her ability to be free.
Ranging from caged parrots to the meadow in Kentucky, symbols and settings in The Awakening are prominent and provide a deeper meaning than the text does alone. Throughout The Awakening by Kate Chopin, symbols and setting recur representing Edna’s current progress in her awakening. The reader can interpret these and see a timeline of Edna’s changes and turmoil as she undergoes her changes and awakening.
In Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, her protagonist, Edna Pontellier, a displaced woman of the 19th century lives a life influenced by the men in her society. Edna, a stranger in her own home, has a difficult time accepting traditional roles in society and her role as a mother. People of society in 19th century America, especially in the New Orleans, stigmatized women who felt the need to leave the home and disregard their duties as unacceptable ladies. Evidently Edna is looked down upon for her erratic behavior. In order to be accepted in her community Edna feels the need to live a life she is not content with. However, she soon realizes that she will not allow herself to deviate from her passion in order to satisfy people other than herself. This awareness comes from her interactions with the men around her, for they each teach her something about herself. They unearth her utter dissatisfaction with the restrictions placed on her by society and even her growing sexual awareness. Men, from the likes of her father to her lover, each play a pivotal part in Edna’s awakening.