Edna Pontellier’s Fall from Grace in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

Edna Pontellier’s Fall from Grace in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Essay

Length: 1991 words (5.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Edna’s Fall from Grace in The Awakening

 
    In the novel The Awakening, Kate Chopin tells of Edna Pontellier's struggle with fate. Edna Pontellier awakens from a slumber only to find that her life is displeasing, but these displeasing thoughts are not new to Edna. The actions taken by Edna Pontellier in the novel The Awakening clearly determine that she is not stable. The neglect of her duties as a wife and mother and as a woman of society are all affected by her mental state. Her choices to have affairs and disregard her vow of marriage represent her impaired judgment. The change in her attitude and interests becomes quite irresponsible, and that change along with her final decision to commit suicide tell the reader that Edna Pontellier is not capable of making valid judgments. Had Edna Pontellier been of sound mind and body, she would not have ended her young life by suicide. The fact that she can clearly and easily turn to such an alternative suggests that she is depressed and obviously in opposition to the church. The thoughts and actions of Edna Pontellier are solely determined by her manic depressive state, her apparent repressed abuse from her childhood, and her abandonment of Christianity.

 

Throughout the novel the reader gets a clear sense of Edna Pontellier's peculiar mind and her manic depressive state. She is continually plagued by the moment. Her mood shifts from highs to lows show the reader that a sadness is perpetually within her:

 

We are told there are days when she "was happy to be alive and breathing, when her whole being seemed to be one with sunlight.." On such days Edna "found it good to be alone and unmolested." Yet on other days, she is molested by despondencies so severe that "...


... middle of paper ...


...manic depressive state which leads her to her suicide. She no longer has a will to repress any untold secrets from the past or perhaps the past. Since she has strayed far from her Christian beliefs, she has given in to the evil that has worked to overcome her. She believes she is finally achieving her freedom when she is only confining herself to one single choice, death. In taking her own life, she for the last time falls into an extremely low mood, disregards anyone but herself, and disobeys the church.

 

Works Cited

Franklin, R. F. "The Awakening and the Failure of Psyche" American Literature 56 (Summer 1984): 510-526.

Platizky, R. "Chopin's The Awakening." Explicator 53 (Winter 1995): 99-102.

Seyersted, P. Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1969.

Skaggs, P. Kate Chopin. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1985.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Exploring the Nature and Effects of the Fall of Adam and Kate Chopin´s The Awakening

- Exploring the Nature and Effects of Original Sin Assignment 1 When Man took the fruit of the Forbidden Tree, we lost that close relationship with God and Adam and Eve were casted and banned from the Garden of Eden. This story is perhaps the strongest example of a huge turning point in human history since it is because of their Original Sin the descendants of Adam and Eve are greatly affected. In this paper I will argue that woman’s punishment “…yet your desire shall be for you husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Gen....   [tags: Catholicism, Women, Submission]

Powerful Essays
745 words (2.1 pages)

The Awakening: The Fall of Kate Chopin’s Career Essay

- Did you ever wonder what it was like for a woman to live in the 1800’s. Like in any other decade, there were many memorable events that influenced the writers of this era, but for women writers, this era was characterized by feminism and the fight for women’s rights. Writers like Kate Chopin brought most of the feminist issues to the light through books such as hers, The Awakening. Kate Chopin had a difficult childhood, in which she lost most of her family members. When she began writing, she revealed beliefs of movement of leaders about rights of women....   [tags: Biography]

Powerful Essays
1419 words (4.1 pages)

The Importance of Setting and Symbols in "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin Essay

- 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. The setting Edna is in directly affects her temperament and awakening: Grand Isle provides her with a sense of freedom; New Orleans, restriction; the “pigeon house”, relief from social constraints....   [tags: Setting, Symbols, Awakening, Kate Chopin, ]

Powerful Essays
999 words (2.9 pages)

The Awakening By Kate Chopin Essay

- Feminism has been a term used by many authors and writers for centuries, symbolizing women being able to use freedom the way they want to use it, not the way others want them to use it. With Edna Pontellier, the main character in Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening, she experiences an “awakening” in her life where she discovers her position in the universe and goes in her direction instead of what others like her husband Leonce tell her to take, similar to the style of feminism. “In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her,” (pg....   [tags: Feminism, Women's suffrage, Kate Chopin]

Powerful Essays
893 words (2.6 pages)

Kate Chopin's Awakening Essay

- Kate Chopin's Awakening Kate Chopin's depiction of “The Awakening” is realistic as she develops Edna Pontellier’s character from a socially and morally respectable individual to an individual that turns her back on everything closest to her as she births her new self-being. Edna Pontellier struggles between her subconscious and conscious thoughts as unusual feelings stir unfounded emotions and senses. Some of Chopin’s characters lend themselves in Edna’s “awakening”. Through examination of Leonce Pontellier, Robert Lebrun, Madame Moiselle Reisz, Adele Ratignolle, and Alcee Arobin the life of Edna Pontellier turns into her ultimate death....   [tags: Kate Chopin Awakening Essays]

Powerful Essays
1462 words (4.2 pages)

Essay on An Analysis Of Andrew Delbanco 's Was Kate Chopin A Feminist?

- An Analysis of Andrew Delbanco’s “Was Kate Chopin a Feminist?” “…she was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world” (Chopin 95). At the heart of many works of fiction, and indeed of many real-life pursuits, is a recognition of and a confrontation of society as an oppressive force. This can take many forms, from coming-of-age challenges of parental authority, to challenges of institutionalized injustice or inequality....   [tags: Feminism, Woman, The Awakening, Kate Chopin]

Powerful Essays
1758 words (5 pages)

Free Awakening Essays: Kate Chopin

- The Awakening: Kate Chopin Kate Chopin was an American author who lived during the nineteenth century, but because of The Awakening, a novel which was considered scandalous at the time, she has just recently been "…accepted into the canon of major American writers"(Trosky 105). Through Kate Chopin’s main character of The Awakening, Edna Pontellier, she is able to portray her feelings and desires that were otherwise suppressed by the ideals of American society at that time. Kate Chopin was born on February 8, 1851 in St....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Free Essays
1278 words (3.7 pages)

Essay Finding Freedom in Kate Chopin's The Awakening

- Finding Freedom in The Awakening    The Awakening was shocking to readers in 1899, and would be today if it were published in “Ladies Home Journal”. Even today, women are expected to sacrifice themselves, if not to their husbands, then definitely to their children. I find it interesting that Grand Isle is the setting for the beginning and end of the novel. The story is built around a circle and represents the whirling force that is the energy of Edna’s life. The circle reminds me of Yeats’ “The Second Coming” : “Turning and turning in the widening gyre/things fall apart/the center cannot hold.”  So often I wanted Edna to act and she didn’t, I suppose that it is Chopin’s purpose to not...   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Free Essays
671 words (1.9 pages)

The Awakening: America Was Not Ready For Edna Pontellier Essay example

- The late nineteenth century was a time of great social, technological, and cultural change for America. Boundaries were rapidly evolving. New theories challenging age-old beliefs were springing up everywhere, such as Darwin's natural selection. This post-Civil War era also gave men and women opportunities to work side-by-side, and in 1848, the first woman's rights conference was held in Seneca Fall, New York. These events leading up to the twentieth century had polished the way for the new, independent woman to be introduced....   [tags: Kate Chopin, The Awakening]

Powerful Essays
1882 words (5.4 pages)

Critical Analysis of The Awakening Essay

- Critical Analysis of The Awakening The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, is the story of a woman who is seeking freedom. Edna Pontellier feels confined in her role as mother and wife and finds freedom in her romantic interest, Robert Lebrun. Although she views Robert as her liberator, he is the ultimate cause of her demise. Edna sees Robert as an image of freedom, which brings her to rebel against her role in society. This pursuit of freedom, however, causes her death. Chopin uses many images to clarify the relationship between Robert and Edna and to show that Robert is the cause of both her freedom and her destruction....   [tags: Kate Chopin The Awakening Essays]

Powerful Essays
983 words (2.8 pages)