growaw Edna Pontellier’s Search for Self in Kate Chopin's The Awakening
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The Search for Self in The Awakening
In The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier is a married woman with children. However many of her actions seem like those of a child. In fact, Edna Pontelliers’ life is an irony, in that her immaturity allows her to mature. Throughout this novel, there are many examples of this because Edna is continuously searching for herself in the novel.
One example of how Edna¡¦s immaturity allows her to mature is when she starts to cry when LeƒVonce, her husband, says she is not a good mother. ¡§He reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children. If it was not a mother¡¦s place to look after children, whose on earth was it?¡¨(13). Edna, instead of telling her husband that she had taken care of her children, began to cry like a baby after her husband reprimanded her. ¡§Mrs. Pontellier was by that time thoroughly awake. She began to cry a little¡Kshe thrust her face, steaming and wet, into the bend of her arm, and she went on crying there, not caring any longer to dry her face, her eyes, her arms,¡¨(13,14). These tears made Edna look as if she was still a child and that she is tired of being treated as a child by her husband. These tears also showed her she did not like where she was, a sign of maturity. Her tears symbolize her first awakening.
Although the next morning, after Edna had cried the night before had to go and say good-bye to her husband because he was leaving on a business trip. Edna acted immaturely around him again when he gave her half the money he won the night before. ¡§¡¥It will buy a handsome wedding present for Sister Janet!¡¦ she exclaimed, smoothing out the bills as she counted them one by one,¡¨(15). Edna is spoiled by all of her husbands money.
Another example of how Edna¡¦s immaturity allows her to mature is when Edna swam like a baby when she went swimming for the first time, and she had over estimated her power. ¡§Once she turned and looked toward the shore, toward the people she had left there. She had not gone any great distance¡Kshe made no mention of her encounter with death and her flash of terror, except to say to her husband, ¡¥I thought I should have perished out there alone.