growaw Personal Growth and Death of Edna Pontellier in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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The Awakening: Personal Growth and Death

The Awakening is a novel about the growth of a woman becoming her own person; in spite of the expectations society has for her. The book follows Edna Pontellier as she struggles to find her identity. Edna knows that she cannot be happy filling the role that society has created for her. She did not believe that she could break from this pattern because of the pressures of society. As a result she ends up taking her own life. However, readers should not sympathize with her for taking her own life.

Edna Pontellier was on her way to an awakening. She realized during the book, she was not happy with her position in life. It is apparent that she had never really been fully unaware However, because her own summary of this was some sort of blissful ignorance. Especially in the years of life before her newly appearing independence, THE READER SEES HOW she has never been content with the way her life had turned out. For example she admits she married Mr. Pontellier out of convenience rather than love. EDNA knew he loved her, but she did not love him. It was not that she did not know what love was, for she had BEEN INFATUATED BEFORE, AND BELIEVED IT WAS love. She consciously chose to marry Mr. Pontellier even though she did not love him. When she falls in love with Robert she regrets her decision TO MARRY Mr. Pontellier. HOWEVER, readers should not sympathize, because she was the one who set her own trap. She did not love her husband when she married him, but SHE never once ADMITS that it was a bad decision. She attributes all the problems of her marriage to the way IN WHICH SOCIETY HAS defined the roles of men and women. She does not ACCEPT ANY OF THE BLAME, AS HER OWN. The only other example of married life, in the book, is Mr. and Mrs. Ratignolle, who portray the traditional role of married men and women of the time. Mr. Pontellier also seems to be a typical man of society. Edna, ON THE OTHER HAND, was not A TYPICAL WOMAN OF SOCIETY. Mr. Pontellier knew this but OBVIOUSLY HAD NOT ALWAYS. This shows IS APPARENT in the complete lack of constructive communication between the two. If she had been able to communicate with her husband they may have been able to work OUT THEIR PROBLEMS, WHICH MIGHT HAVE MADE Edna MORE SATISFIED WITH her life.

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