Themes of Hope and Failure in The Awakening and The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Themes of Hope and Failure in The Awakening and The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Length: 889 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

To Fail or not to Fail

The characters of Edna, Mr. Oakhurst, The Innocent, Piney, Mother Shipton, and The Duchess all face different forms of failure in their respective stories, The Awakening and “The Outcasts of Poker Flat”. Each character has a unique response to failure; some bend, while others break. Though at times people fall short of their goals, it is not necessarily the human lot to try and fail; sometimes people make the choice to fail by losing hope, or by viewing death as failure, or by having a negative outlook on life, but it is essentially they themselves who allow the failure- it all stems from the person’s perspective and individual choices. Even though humans don’t always succeed in their endeavors, humans are not predestined to fail.

Hope is arguably the one thing that keeps humans moving forward. Without it, there is no motivation, no reason to wake up in the morning. When people start to lose hope, they start to lose a part of themselves, and are driven toward despair. In The Awakening, the protagonist, Edna, says over and over again how despondent she is, which leads to her eventual suicide. It has been said that “There is no failure except in no longer trying,” and sadly, Edna gave into despair and lost the will to keep going. She felt as though life was no longer worth the effort, and decided death would be better than living a lie. And yet, there’s always more than one door to take. Edna didn’t search for other options- for her, it was either be untrue to her feelings, live without Robert, or death. She was too strong to pick the first, but too weak to
consider the second; she was awakened to her feelings, but blind to alternatives.

Dorothy Thompson once said, “Courage, it would se...


... middle of paper ...


...e Billy’s “failure” to do the right thing probably wasn’t much of a failure to him. Perspective defines failure, not some outside force.

What exactly is failure? It is, according to the dictionary, “Lack of success.” Many people say that “failure isn’t the falling down, but the staying down.” But who are we to say? Lack of hope, the thought that death and failure are one and the same, and a pessimistic outlook on life can cause someone to fail, but thankfully not everyone falls victim to these. Failure is always controversial, because people view things and events differently. As Elaine Maxewell once said, “My will shall shape the future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man's doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny.”


Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Themes and Images in The Awakening Essay examples

- "The water of the Gulf stretched out before her, gleaming with the million lights of the sun. The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in the abysses of solitude. 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." Chapter XXXIX Edna Pontellier, a woman no longer certain of who she is....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Better Essays
1476 words (4.2 pages)

Essay on Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat

- World History In Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat he presents his idea of the globalization of the world in all areas; from economic to communication with other countries. Friedman is a journalist from the New York Times and most of his work focuses on economic and technological innovations and advancements, and furthermore how they are associated to history. The ideas he presents in this book are both plausible and convincing. The main focus is whether the world is “flat“. The answer to this question depends on the readers’ political, economical, and technological opinions....   [tags: The World is Flat]

Better Essays
1047 words (3 pages)

The World Is Flat By Thomas Friedman Essay examples

- When thinking if the world is flat or if it is not flat, we know it is not flat, because of science. On a more metaphorical standpoint, we can think of flatness as "Does it contain depth?". In this time frame does our world still contain depth. We have the ability to travel both high and low in our world. We can travel across the earth unlimited times in one life. With globalization we have to face, does our planet have any depth in which an outsider can not reach. Thomas Friedman believe the world is 'flat '....   [tags: The World Is Flat, Globalization, Earth]

Better Essays
1024 words (2.9 pages)

Freedom Awakening Essay

- “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]

Better Essays
974 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on The World Is Flat, By Thomas Friedman

- Free College in the Flat World What if I told you there is a way to cut your school debt in half. If someone told you two years of college were free would you have more interest in attending. By making the first two years of college or community college free, this could become a reality. In Thomas Friedman’s book, “The World is Flat”, he explains modern globalization and how important education is. In modern culture, college is something that has shifted into something necessary to compete globally....   [tags: Higher education, College, The World Is Flat]

Better Essays
1242 words (3.5 pages)

The Significance of Art in Chopin's The Awakening Essay example

- Edna seeks occupational freedom in art, but lacks sufficient courage to become a true artist. As Edna awakens to her selfhood and sensuality, she also awakens to art. Originally, Edna “dabbled” with sketching “in an unprofessional way” (Chopin 543). She could only imitate, although poorly (Dyer 89). She attempts to sketch Adèle Ratignolle, but the picture “bore no resemblance” to its subject. After her awakening experience in Grand Isle, Edna begins to view her art as an occupation (Dyer 85). She tells Mademoiselle Reisz that she is “becoming an artist” (Chopin 584)....   [tags: the awakening]

Better Essays
887 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on The Awakening

- Critical Views of The Awakening       The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, is full of ideas and understanding about human nature. In Chopin's time, writing a story with such great attention to sensual details in both men and women caused skepticism among readers and critics. However, many critics have different views with deeper thought given to The Awakening. Symbolism, the interpretation of Edna's suicide, and awakenings play important roles in the analysis of all critics.   Symbolism in The Awakening is interpreted in many ways....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Better Essays
728 words (2.1 pages)

The Impact of Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism, and Local Color on The Awakening

-         Four major literary movements can claim some aspect of The Awakening, for in this "small compass . . . [is illustrated] virtually all the major American intellectual and literary trends of the nineteenth century" (Skaggs, 80).    The Romantic movement marked a profound shift in sensibilities away from the Enlightenment. It was inspired by reaction to that period's concepts of clarity, order, and balance, and by the revolutions in America, France, Poland, and Greece. It expressed the assertion of the self, the power of the individual, a sense of the infinite, and transcendental nature of the universe....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]

Better Essays
1330 words (3.8 pages)

Fixing a Flat Tire Essay

- Fixing a Flat Tire There aren't too many things in life which are more annoying than a flat tire when you least expect it, but then again who really expects a flat. Maybe the bloke driving around on four bald tires is expecting one, but he probably doesn't want one either. Although I will admit that one day on my way to get new tires I tried, and successfully I might add, to "burn off" a tire. Luckily for me though I was within one block of the tire shop, and even more serendipitously the police never caught me on the way there since I would stop for every red light and stop sign only to "light up" the rear wheels upon take off, sometimes reaching 75mph on the speedometer before the tires...   [tags: Flat Tire Driving Cars]

Better Essays
1482 words (4.2 pages)

Essay on A Futile Awakening

- Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, transcends societal structures and expectations. It deals with the day-to-day realities that a woman must face if she is to progress to full maturation and become at peace with herself and the world. Set in turn-of-the-century Creole New Orleans, it addresses the relentless strength and courage required for a woman to remain true to her convictions. Most studies of The Awakening focus on Edna Pontellier's newly emerged awareness and struggle against the societal forces that repress her....   [tags: Kate Chopin's The Awakening]

Better Essays
3448 words (9.9 pages)