Straying from the Tradtional Creole Lifestyle in The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

Straying from the Tradtional Creole Lifestyle in The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

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The Creole society demands high moral and a traditional lifestyle from the women in The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. Edna Pontillier, the main character, enters a rebellious state of mind as she explores the awakening the other characters influence. The other characters in The Awakening create Edna by influencing her decisions, independence, and sexual desires throughout the story. Mademoiselle Reisz, Robert, and Alcee Arobin challenge Edna to fly above the Creole traditions and become more in-touch with her sexuality, and encourage her to be an independent woman while Edna’s husband, Leonce, Madame Ratignolle, and Edna’s father conflict with Edna because they want her to be a traditional Creole wife and mother to her children and try to help her learn the ways of the society.
Mademoiselle Reisz acts as a role model for Edna showing her how to be independent in various ways. Reisz demonstrates her independence through her art, music, which inspires Edna to start painting to express her desire for freedom and independence. Also, Edna admires that Reisz lives alone, without anyone to depend on, and decides to move out of her house to be free to live her new life. Madame Ratignolle, on the other hand, tries to mentor Edna by helping her learn the ways of society so that Edna does not stray from tradition. Madame Ratignolle acts as a foil throughout the story because she is not only the picture perfect woman of the Creole society, but she is whom society thinks Edna should be like. This causes Edna to continuously doubt herself in her journey toward and independent life.
Robert is the catalyst for Edna’s awakening. He acts as the escape from reality and Edna finds she can be herself around him, not traditional. Robert is th...


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...r arrives, he reveals that she is from a very similar society and she is different.
The author of The Awakening uses the characters in the novel to create Edna. The characters create Edna by influencing her decisions, her desire for independence, and her newfound sexuality. Robert, Mademoiselle Riesz, and Alcee Arobin help Edna become an independent woman by stimulating her new sexuality and desire for independence, and supporting her expression through art and her bold decisions throughout the novel. Leonce, Madame Ratignolle, and Edna’s father try to prevent Edna’s awakening by helping her learn the ways of tradition and convincing her that she can be a better wife and mother but do not support her in her new lifestyle. These persistent attitudes these characters share drive Edna to separate from her family and move out showing her desire for independence.

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