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. Just as criticism in many ways takes the life out of the text, by dissecting it and making it a part of an argument, the “model critical approach” takes the life out of criticism.
It is interesting to see how the different Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism are altered by the text they are describing. For example, I have one volume on Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, and another for Great Expectations, both of which demonstrate the extent to which the object of critique affects the critique itself, such that “deconstruction criticism” in an intellectual vacuum is something different than when a scholar tries to apply it to a particular text, altering both the text as well as the principles of deconstruction. The Awakening gender criticism takes on a different feel from Great Expectation gender criticism even though they are informed by the same principles, because gender in the early Victorian Dickens is different than in the turn of the century American Chopin. In this way the criticism co-constructs with the primary document something different than both the criticism and the original text. Such a syntheses have produced exciting and innovative ideas, refreshing and reviving works from the tombs of academia. Unfor...
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... is also a politics involving real becomings, an entire becoming clandestine. (A Thousand Plateaus 188)
Finally, the sea is a common trope for mother, and maternal—that from which life springs. We are presented with Edna running away from Protestant society (the dynamo, the father) to Catholic Creole society (the earth-goddess transformed into the Madonna). She runs away from her father, and there is no mother for her to run towards except the archetypal sea. If these mythic formations say anything, the novel says something about Edna’s own lost mother. Is the tragedy of the book that this mother is never found even though Edna followed the trail to the musty scent? Is the tragedy of the story Edna’s mother died giving birth to Edna, leaving Edna with only one memory of her mother—the musty scent of childbirth? Does this inform her attitudes toward motherhood?
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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)
- Understanding Wolff’s Analysis of Chopin’s The Awakening “Un-Utterable Longing” analyzes The Awakening from the diverse, yet overlapping perspectives of deconstruction, feminist/gender theory, new historicism, and psychoanalytic criticism. Much like Yaeger and Treichler, Wolff attributes Edna’s struggle and eventual demise to her failed search for a language that voices her (un)womanly desires. Wolff first adopts the new historicist viewpoint to situate Edna as a 19th-century southern woman, presenting a very real conflict between: the dominating values of her time and place; and her own innermost passions and needs.... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
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- 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]
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- 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]
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- Yaeger’s Critique of Chopin’s The Awakening In “‘A Language Which Nobody Understood’: Emancipatory Strategies in The Awakening,” Patricia Yaeger questions the feminist assumption that Edna Pontellier’s adulterous behavior represent a radical challenge to patriarchal values. Using a deconstructionist method, Yaeger argues that in the novel adultery functions not as a disrupting agent of, but, rather, as a counterweight to the institution of marriage, reinforcing the very idea it purports to subvert by framing female desire within “an elaborate code [of moral conduct] that has already been negotiated by her society.” A reading of The Awakening that can envision only two possible outcomes f... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
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- 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]
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- The Power of Painting in Kate Chopin's The Awakening The Awakening by Kate Chopin displays the struggle a woman goes through in order to break the current status quo. In this novel, Edna Pontellier releases herself to her deepest yearnings, plunging into an immoral relationship that reawakens her long dormant desires, enflames her heart, and eventually blinds her to all else. As she goes through these changes Edna involves herself in many different activities. Painting becomes one of her favorite pastimes and her artwork often depicts an important person in her life.... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
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- Contradictory Impulses in Chopin’s The Awakening “Edna Pontellier could not have told why, wishing to go to the beach with Robert, she should in the first place have declined, and in the second place have followed in obedience to one of the two contradictory impulses that impelled her. A certain light was beginning to dawn dimly within her,--the light which, showing the way, forbids it,” (Chopin 34). The possibility of a life beyond the scope of motherhood, social custom, standards of femininity, and wifedom characterize Kate Chopin’s vision of her heroine’s awakening, but Edna’s personal growth remains stifled by her inability to reconcile the contradictory impulses pulling her in differen... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
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- The Nature of Solitude in Chopin's Novel, The Awakening "The name of the piece was something else, but she called it ‘Solitude.' When she heard it there came before her imagination the figure of a man standing beside a desolate rock on the seashore. He was naked. His attitude was one of hopeless resignation as he looked toward a distant bird winging its flight away from him."(47) "All along the white beach, up and down, there was no living thing in sight. A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down to the water...when she was there beside the sea, absolutely alone, she cast the unpleasant, pricking garments from her, and for the... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
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- Edna and Conformity in Chopin’s The Awakening The passage of The Awakening which truly marks Edna Pontellier’s new manner of thought regarding her life revolves around her remembrance of a day of her childhood in Kentucky. She describes the scene to Madame Ratigonelle as the two women sit on the beach one summer day. The passage opens with a description of the sea and the sky on that particular day. This day and its components are expressed in lethargic terms such as “idly” and “motionless” and suggested a scene of calm sleep.... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
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