Finding True Freedom in The Awakening
Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening details the endeavors of heroine Edna Pontellier to cope with the realization that she is not, nor can she ever be, the woman she wants to be. Edna has settled for less. She is married for all the wrong reasons, saddled with the burden of motherhood, and trapped by social roles that would never release her. The passage below is only one of the many tender and exquisitely sensory passages that reveal Edna’s soul to the reader.
"The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, dancing, 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."(32)
When Edna's one chance for change; her only hope, Robert, deserts her, she realizes that her dreams are unachievable. It is this grim acceptance that steals our heroine's last shard of optimism from her. Edna Pontellier's suicide is completely believable, justifiable, and understandable. This world was too cruel for her tender spirit; this life too stifling for her to bear. None of this surprises me. How many women (or men, for that matter) go through life with their eyes closed? How many find it easier to simply shut out the ugliness and horror that surrounds them? Finally seeing the loathsome existence they are a part of can simply be "too much" for many to sustain. Utter despair and hopelessness soon devour that fragile soul, with frailty too great for this existence.
Mr. Pontellier's thoughts reveal much about Edna's nature to us, and perhaps most of her mistakes as well. He feels that "his wife...
... middle of paper ...
... The social roles she was trying to break away from would never really have released her. "Leonce and the children…were a part of her life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and soul" (137). I find myself wishing that she had never opened her eyes; that she could have lived out her days blissfully ignorant of the circumstances which bound her. This being impossible, even more than the idea of a life of her own, Edna chose the only possible option to escape from an existence full of unfulfilled desires and unhappiness.
Edna re-enters the sea; scene of her first taste of power and emancipation. She returns because it offers her the only other possible freedom she is allowed; the freedom of death. It is not an act of weakness, or romanticism…it is that of a woman claiming her liberty, her strength…and her self…one last time.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Finding True Freedom in The Awakening Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening details the endeavors of heroine Edna Pontellier to cope with the realization that she is not, nor can she ever be, the woman she wants to be. Edna has settled for less. She is married for all the wrong reasons, saddled with the burden of motherhood, and trapped by social roles that would never release her. The passage below is only one of the many tender and exquisitely sensory passages that reveal Edna’s soul to the reader.... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
1226 words (3.5 pages)
- 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]
671 words (1.9 pages)
- Finding Freedom in The Awakening In her novel, The Awakening, Kate Chopin shows Edna Pontellier¹s confrontations with society, her imprisonment in marriage and Edna¹s exploration of her own sexuality. Chopin also portrays Edna as a rebel, who after her experiences at Grand Isle wants to live a full and a free life and not to follow the rules of society. Edna¹s life ends in her suicide, but her death does not come as a surprise. Chopin foreshadows Edna¹s death by the use of nature and Edna¹s connection to it; also by the use of symbols, especially the symbolic meaning of a bird; and by the use of many different characters in the novel, such as Robert Lebrun, Mademoiselle Reisz and Madame R... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
759 words (2.2 pages)
- Kate Chopin, in The Awakening, poses an important question: can freedom exist in a society that advocates and supports confinement through the means of reputation, decency, and other social factors. The various characters in the novel make up three levels of awareness of freedom—ignorance, enlightenment, and pursuit. Kate Chopin uses these types of awareness to show that true freedom can never be obtained. The majority of the characters in The Awakening are completely unaware of the freedom that Kate Chopin writes about.... [tags: ignorance, enlightenment, pursuit]
875 words (2.5 pages)
- Does death make people free or are they born with their natural freedom and find the heavy hands of society clasping around us as we grow older and our minds become more influenced by the people around us. Throughout the book The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier finds herself pondering the thought of freedom and what it takes to achieve being free. There are many symbols, people and times of Edna’s self-refection when we see examples of this. First of all, The Awakening was enriched with symbols and motifs for Chopin to get her point across for those who were willing to look for the deeper meaning.... [tags: Symbolism, Creole]
914 words (2.6 pages)
- Freedom means to be able to do what one desires to do without being restricted from doing that action. In Kate Chopin’s book The Awakening, she displays how the protagonist, Edna, escapes from her relationship and society .She feels cornered by society and she is not satisfied with her relationship. Mr.Pontellier Edna’s husband does not treat her with respect, but as if she is a child. Edna is trying to get out of the relationship because she wants to be treated equally (Chopin). During the 1800s, oppression of women was beginning to happen more frequently with women not taking anymore of the unfair rights and actions toward women.... [tags: relationships, protagonist, suffrage]
777 words (2.2 pages)
- In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, one of the most prevalent and recurring themes and ideas relates to human freedom. The main characters in the two novels, Edna Pontellier and Jane Eyre, both long for social, religious, and sexual emancipation among other things – freedom from the constraints of Victorian society, which have rendered them dependent and inferior to men. While it is true that both protagonists of their respective novels wanted emancipation, their living conditions and qualities of life varied widely.... [tags: The Awakening, Jane Eyre, compare, contrast]
1765 words (5 pages)
- “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]
974 words (2.8 pages)
- ... She could not work on such a day, nor weave fancies to stir her pulses and warm her blood.” (97). She recognizes the pointlessness of the life she is living, she realizes that without change, her life has no direction. If she continued with her uneventful existence, she would never experience anything she wants to experience. Her pessimistic view of her world is one of the key reasons that she undergoes her transformation; she was thirsting for an adventure so that she could leave her life behind.... [tags: stereotypes, freedom, society]
688 words (2 pages)
- 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]
762 words (2.2 pages)
- Importance of Symbolism and Setting in The Yellow Wallpaper
- The Character of John in The Yellow Wallpaper
- The Importance of Setting in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
- The Nightmare of The Yellow Wallpaper
- The Importance of the Wallpaper in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
- Escape Through Dementia in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman