Independence and Freedom in The Awakening Essay

Independence and Freedom in The Awakening Essay

Length: 1564 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Independence and Freedom in The Awakening
The novel The Awakening by Kate Chopin demonstrates the themes of independence and freedom. It is set back in a time when women were supposed to grow up being protected and controlled by their fathers, then move to the same role with their husbands. The main character, Edna Pontieller, defies the social norms as she does not assume the title of a good mother, good wife, and good daughter. Instead she has her own ideas and is a reoccurring symbol of freedom and independence.
Many works of literature Chopin writes about reflects and even parallels on her life growing up in St. Louis during the Civil War. Many tragic events occurred in her life starting with the death of her father in an unfortunate railroad accident; the only male role model in her life. Thirteen years later, her beloved great-grandmother passes away. She was the only child left as her sisters had all died in infancy. Also, Kitty Garesche, a girl who she went to school with most of her life made the decision to become a nun. In this, Kate lost her only female friend. All of the trauma in her life gave her a headstrong personality that she so often draws back to while writing.
“Living in a region divided by Union and Confederate sympathies, she experienced the Civil War firsthand. Raised in a family of slave owners and nurtured by a black mommy, she saw the abolition of slavery and the enfranchisement of African-Americans” (Chopin, xvi). This took a toll on her and deeply affected her mentally. For example, she grew up where slaves were a reality. In fact, her family owned slaves and there was one that specifically attended to her. Chopin saw how this affected them and felt empathy for them as she wanted freedom herself....


... middle of paper ...


... she was reluctant to publish it fearing harsh criticism because of the sexual content. To no surprise, the novel was rejected by society even banned from some school systems for its explicit content and idea of a self-reliance as a strong quality about a woman. “Critics averred that Chopin was a pornographer and that her novel was immoral and even perverse…Of course, Chopin’s novel was not entirely without supporters. A critic for the ‘New York Times Book Review,’ for example, noted Chopin’s skill in exploring her subject and confessed ‘pity for the most unfortunate of her sex’” (Showalter, 104). The novel was finally published in 1899 portraying Edna Pontellier’s “Emotional and intellectual struggle, her new role-‘free woman’- is never satisfactorily realized, and her specific lovers finally become as irrelevant as her friends, husband, and children” (Bloom, 44).

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about What It Means To Be A Woman in The Awakening by Kate Chopin

- ... She mothers Edna as well as her own children throughout the novel, and always manages to bring her children up during group discussions. “She was always talking about her ‘condition’ Her ‘condition’ was in no way apparent, and now one would have known a thing about it but for her persistence in making it a subject for conversation.” This quote emphasizes how much of her focus is on children, whether they are newborn babies, or little kids. During her visit to Edna’s summer cottage, she brings patterns of baby clothes to sew for both Edna and her, while they discuss other events, even though neither is pregnant, and Edna is content with her children’s wardrobe for the winter....   [tags: creole, independence, freedom]

Powerful Essays
1252 words (3.6 pages)

The Transformation of Edna Pontellier in The Awakening Essay

- “She wanted something to happen- something, anything: she did not know what” (Chopin). In Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, the reader is introduced to Edna Pontellier, a passionate, rebellious woman. Throughout the novel, it becomes apparent how unsettled Edna feels about her life. The reader can identify this by her thoughts, desires, and actions, which are highly inappropriate for an affluent woman of the time. In the novel, Edna has an awakening and finds the courage to make the changes she sees necessary....   [tags: Kate Chopin, The Awakening]

Powerful Essays
952 words (2.7 pages)

feminaw freeaw Kate Chopin's The Awakening as a Story of Independence

- The Awakening: A Story of Independence Kate Chopin's The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a Southern wife and mother. At the time this novel was published, women did as they were expected by society. They were expected to be good daughters, good wives, and good mothers. A woman was expected to move from the protection of her father's roof to the protection of her husband. Edna did not fit this mold, and that eventually leads her husband to send for a doctor. When her husband does this Edna Pontellier says words, which define The Awakening, "I don't want anything but my own way....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Free Essays
667 words (1.9 pages)

The Significance of Art in Chopin's The Awakening Essay example

- Edna seeks occupational freedom in art, but lacks sufficient courage to become a true artist. As Edna awakens to her selfhood and sensuality, she also awakens to art. Originally, Edna “dabbled” with sketching “in an unprofessional way” (Chopin 543). She could only imitate, although poorly (Dyer 89). She attempts to sketch Adèle Ratignolle, but the picture “bore no resemblance” to its subject. After her awakening experience in Grand Isle, Edna begins to view her art as an occupation (Dyer 85). She tells Mademoiselle Reisz that she is “becoming an artist” (Chopin 584)....   [tags: the awakening]

Powerful Essays
887 words (2.5 pages)

Freedom Awakening Essay

- “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....   [tags: The Awakening, Kate Chopin]

Powerful Essays
974 words (2.8 pages)

The Voice of the Sea in The Awakening Essay

- The Voice of the Sea in The Awakening           Many different symbols were utilized in Kate Chopin's The Awakening to illustrate the underlying themes and internal conflict of the characters.  One constant and re-emerging symbol is the sea.  The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.  The voice of the sea speaks to the soul.  The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace (Chopin 25).    In the novel, “the ocean symbolizes Edna's "awakening" to a life filled with freedom and independence” (Nicke...   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Powerful Essays
886 words (2.5 pages)

Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

- 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 identi...   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Powerful Essays
1882 words (5.4 pages)

Essay about Suicide in Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening

- Suicide in Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening Suicide is often thought of as a very sad and quick answer to problems, such as depression but in Kate Chopin's novel, she ironically portrays suicide as a passage to freedom. The Awakening (1899) is a short novel that depicts the life of a young housewife struggling for her independence, sexuality, and her self worth in an unromantic marriage. The author, through three major actions, shows the successful and triumphant "awakening" of Edna Pontellier....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Powerful Essays
762 words (2.2 pages)

Essay Edna Pontellier’s Search for Independence in Chopin's The Awakening

- Edna's Search for Independence in The Awakening       "How do you honor the deepest truth you know?" --Ram Das        In order to honor one's deepest truth, one must first discover what that truth is and then apply that truth to everyday life.  The life of Edna Pontellier in The Awakening signifies the search, discovery, and application of an individual's deepest truth.  Edna, a wealthy New Orleans housewife, at first attempts to find the deepest truth about herself by conforming to society's norms.  She marries a well-respected man, Leonce, and bears him children.  However, Edna discovers that she wants more out of life; something about her marriage is not allowing her to achieve fulfil...   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Powerful Essays
2652 words (7.6 pages)

freeaw A Woman's Fight for Independence in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

- A Woman's Fight for Independence in The Awakening Right from the beginning the plot is almost conveniently evident. You find a woman, Edna Pontellier, tired of living her life as a pampered and "owned" wife and mother. She is searching for much more in her life, some sort of meaning for her whole existence. She searches for a long time but in the end, the inevitability of her life's pattern and direction wraps around her, suffocating her. She is overcome with wonder, confusion, and guilt for what she believes and what she does to express her beliefs....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Free Essays
835 words (2.4 pages)