In her essay "Un-Utterable Longing: The Discourse of Feminine Sexuality in Kate Chopin's The Awakening", Cynthia Griffin Wolff creates what Ross Murfin describes as "a critical whole that is greater than the sum of its parts." (376) By employing a variety of critical approaches (including feminist, gender, cultural, new historicism, psychoanalytic and deconstruction) Wolff offers the reader a more complete (albeit complex) explanation of Edna Pontellier's behavior and motivations than any single approach could provide. Wolff contends that locating the source of Edna's repression is the key to understanding Chopin's story.
Wolff's perspective is feminist in that she focuses primarily on the character of Edna. By analyzing The Awakening in a historical context Wolff is also able to effectively explain not only Edna's motivations, but also those of nineteenth-century women in general. According to Wolff, Edna's repression can be traced to the gender crisis that developed within the Presbyterian church during the nineteenth-century. Unli...
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- Wolff’s Analysis of Chopin’s The Awakening In her essay "Un-Utterable Longing: The Discourse of Feminine Sexuality in Kate Chopin's The Awakening", Cynthia Griffin Wolff creates what Ross Murfin describes as "a critical whole that is greater than the sum of its parts." (376) By employing a variety of critical approaches (including feminist, gender, cultural, new historicism, psychoanalytic and deconstruction) Wolff offers the reader a more complete (albeit complex) explanation of Edna Pontellier's behavior and motivations than any single approach could provide.... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
638 words (1.8 pages)
- The Awakening as an Allegory of Existentialism Kate Chopin's The Awakening as the title suggests is just that‹the story of a young woman's awakening to life. Even though it is a work of fiction, the character of Edna undergoes such a radical change one cannot ignore the psychological depth of the work. The story could almost be seen as a case study. In order to analyze the work psychologically, it is important to decide which psychological framework to use. I chose the critic Cynthia Wolff who uses a Freudian framework for analysis. Wolff feels that Edna's problems are a result of oral conflicts, while I see the work as more of an allegory of existentialism, and Edna's proble... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
1834 words (5.2 pages)
- Wolff’s Critique of Chopin’s The Awakening The critical case study to the novel establishes a definition of a type of critical response, and then gives as close an example that fits that mode of criticism—BORING. First, the book has these forms of criticism laid out contiguously, as if they occurred only spatially and not temporally. This flattened and skewed representation of critical approaches, taking an argument out of its context (an academic debate) and uses it as if it were a pedagogical tool.... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
1174 words (3.4 pages)
- Wolff’s View on Feminine Sexuality in Chopin’s The Awakening In her essay “Un-Utterable Longing: The Discourse of Feminine Sexuality in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening” Cynthia Griffin Wolff sees the lack of a language—for Edna Pontellier’s sexual desires in particular and female sexuality in general—as the main theme in Chopin’s novel. She particularly looks at how issues of sexuality remain unsaid in the novel, or how they are expressed in a different way, because of the lack of a language of feminine sexuality.... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
676 words (1.9 pages)
- Showalter’s Analysis of Chopin’s The Awakening In “Tradition and the Female Talent: The Awakening as a Solitary Book,” Elaine Showalter makes a compelling argument that “Edna Pontellier’s ‘unfocused yearning’ for an autonomous life is akin to Kate Chopin’s yearning to write works that go beyond female plots and feminine endings” (204). Urging her reader to read The Awakening “in the context of literary tradition,” Showalter demonstrates the ways in which Chopin’s novel both builds upon and departs from the tradition of American women’s writing up to that point.... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
598 words (1.7 pages)
- LeBlanc’s Analysis of Sexuality in Chopin’s The Awakening Definitions are tricky things. Such is the conclusion of Ross C. Murfin in his attempts to spell out the major literary theories discussed in our text: "attempts to highlight the difference between feminist and gender criticism are inevitably prone to reductive overgeneralization and occasional distortion"(footnote p.226). Such is the conclusion of gender theorists in general in their pursuit of critiquing the traditional definitions of male/ female, masculine/ feminine, and heterosexual/ homosexual.... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
995 words (2.8 pages)
- An Analysis of Page 69-70 of Chopin’s The Awakening Each time I read The Awakening, I am drawn to the passage on page 69 where Edna and Madame Ratignolle argue about “the essential” and “the unessential.” Edna tries to explain, “I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself.” What most would see as essential—money (you need it for food, clothing, shelter, etc) and life—Edna sees as “unessential.” Edna is speaking of more than that which one needs for physical survival; she would not hesitate to give her life to save the life of one of her children.... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
432 words (1.2 pages)
- An Analysis of the Final Passage in Chopin’s The Awakening As this passage commences, Chopin, through Edna’s thoughts, describes the seemingly endless sea that presents itself before her. Edna, through personification, shows the intimacy of her relationship with both nature and the sea. This large, “[…] never ceasing […]” (Chopin 139) body of water has entranced and enthralled Edna to the point where she is now beginning to see this natural element that amazes her so much as the only option left to her in life.... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
414 words (1.2 pages)
- A Deconstructionist Critique of Chopin’s The Awakening The multiplicity of meanings and (re)interpretations informing critical studies of The Awakening reveal a novel ripe for deconstructionist critique. Just as Chopin evokes an image of the sea as symbolic of Edna’s shifting consciousness (“never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude,”138), likewise the deconstructionist reading of a text emphasizes fluidity over structure: “A text consists of words inscribed in and inextricable from the myriad discourses that inform it; from the point of view of deconstruction, the boundaries between any given text and that larger text we call langua... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
523 words (1.5 pages)
- The Metaphorical Lesbian in Chopin’s The Awakening In “The Metaphorical Lesbian: Edna Pontellier in The Awakening” Elizabeth LeBlanc asserts that the character Edna Pontellier is an example of what Bonnie Zimmerman calls the “metaphorical lesbian.” It’s important to distinguish between Zimmerman’s concept of the “metaphorical lesbian” and lesbianism. The “metaphorical lesbian” does not have to act on lesbian feelings or even become conscious of herself as a lesbian. Instead, the “metaphorical lesbian” creates a space for woman-identified relationships and experiences in a heterosexually hegemonic environment.... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
617 words (1.8 pages)