The Character of Mademoiselle Reisz in The Awakening
"She was a disagreeable little woman, no longer young, who had quarreled with almost everyone, owing to a temper which was self-assertive and a disposition to trample upon the rights of others." (25) This is how Kate Chopin introduces the character of Mademoiselle Reisz into her novel, The Awakening. A character who, because of the similarities she shares with Madame Pontellier, could represent the path Madame Pontellier’s life may have taken, had she survived old age.
Mademoiselle Reisz is first introduced at a party when she plays the piano for Edna Pontellier. Edna is described as being "very fond of music."(25) Music is described as having a way of "evoking pictures in (Edna’s) mind" and causing her to have visions of naked men, the beach, her children, and many other images, which in turn, she attaches various names to. (25) As Mademoiselle plays, a series of physical changes affect Edna. For example, upon the first chord, Chopin describes it as sending "a keen tremor" (26) down (Edna’s) back, and eventually, the piece moves her to tears. Days later, Mademoiselle Reisz and Edna coincidentally meet, and Mademoiselle invites Edna to visit her in the city. This invitation starts the beginning of a great acquaintanceship.
There are many symbolic parallels and occurrences that may contribute to the list of similarities between Madame Pontellier and Mademoiselle Reisz. The first similarity that can be seen between the two women was that of livelihood and talent. Mademoiselle Reisz, being the pianist that she was, based her livelihood solely upon her talent by teaching piano lessons. Edna, on the other hand, after becoming affiliated with Mademoiselle...
... middle of paper ...
...er inappropriate behavior in such an era would result in excommunication and estrangement from the community. Herein lies the similarity of character between the two women; that because of their past actions both Mademoiselle Reisz and Madame Pontellier would be labeled as outcasts by society. The only difference is that the actions of Edna Pontellier have yet to be revealed.
Mademoiselle Reisz states to Edna that in order to be considered an artist, "one must possess many gifts-absolute gifts-which have not been acquired by one’s own effort. And, moreover, to succeed, the artist must possess the courageous soul." (63) Although Edna and Mademoiselle share many characteristics that may possibly contribute to their future paths, they have one stifling difference; Mademoiselle Reisz possesses the wisdom to live the way that she does, Edna Pontellier does not.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Character of Mademoiselle Reisz in The Awakening "The very first chords which Mademoiselle Reisz struck upon the piano sent a keen tremor down Mrs. Pontellier’s spinal column. It was not the first time she had heard an artist at the piano. Perhaps it was the first time she was ready, perhaps the first time her being was tempered to take an impress of the abiding truth." (26) Madam Reisz was a predominant factor in the life of Edna, compelling her to arouse her courage and supplying her with the proper motivation to do so.... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
778 words (2.2 pages)
- Comparison between Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz In order to help to get a point or idea across it is not uncommon to provide two stark contrasts to assist in conveying the point. Writers commonly use this technique in their writing especially when dealing with a story that concerns the evolution of a character. An example of such writing can be found in Kate Chopin's The Awakening. The novel deals with Edna Pontellier's "awakening" from the slumber of the stereotypical southern woman, as she discovers her own identity independent of her husband and children.... [tags: essays research papers]
717 words (2 pages)
- “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]
952 words (2.7 pages)
- Importance of the Characters in The Awakening The Awakening was a very exciting and motivating story. It contains some of the key motivational themes that launched the women’s movement. It was incredible to see how women were not only oppressed, but how they had become so accustomed to it, that they were nearly oblivious to the oppression. The one woman, Edna Pontellier, who dared to have her own feelings was looked upon as being mentally ill. The pressure was so great, that in the end, the only way that she felt she could be truly free was to take her own life.... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
808 words (2.3 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)
- 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]
532 words (1.5 pages)
- Use of Aviary Symbolism in The Awakening Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening is full of symbolism. Symbols add meaning and depth to the text. Chopin underscores the expression "free as a bird" through the consistent use of aviary symbolism in The Awakening. Throughout the story she cleverly weaves images and descriptions of birds to express the psychological state of mind of her main character, Edna Pontellier. Perhaps the most obvious example of this symbolism is in the first spoken sentences of the novel, which, strangely enough, are not uttered by a human, but rather screeched by a parrot.... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
815 words (2.3 pages)
- The Influence of the Sea in The Awakening In Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, the female protagonist, Edna Pontellier, learns about the world. Unfortunately for Edna, the world is defined in terms of love and marriage. This female awakening is really "an awakening to limitations" (Bloom 43). If read as a suicide, then Edna’s last swim is a consequence of her awakening to the limitations of her femaleness in a male-dominant society. But on a metaphysical level, The Awakening's final scene can be seen as Edna's ultimate gesture in trying to grasp the essence of her being. This essay will show that Edna's spiritual journey both begins and ends in the sea..... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
2157 words (6.2 pages)
- Edna as a Metaphorical Lesbian in Chopin’s The Awakening Elizabeth LeBlanc places The Awakening in an interesting context in her essay “The Metaphorical Lesbian,” as gender criticism must, for Chopin wrote the novel at the end of the 19th century, when homosexuality as an identity emerged culturally, at least in terms of the gay male identity, as proffered by Oscar Wilde across the Atlantic. Lesbianism, too, started to make its debut on the cultural stage, particularly in literature. However, although lesbianism started to emerge during Chopin’s lifetime, it seems doubtful that it played any formative role for Edna’s characterization.... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
548 words (1.6 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)