Essay PreviewMore ↓
In short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman. The mother women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle. It was easy to know them, fluttering about with extended, protecting wings when any harm, real or imaginary, threatened their precious brood. They were women who idolized their children, worshiped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels. (p.29)
She was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way. She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them. The year before they
had spent part of the summer with their grandmother Pontellier in Iberville. Feeling secure regarding their happiness and welfare, she did not miss them except with an occasional intense longing. Their absence was a sort of relief, though she did not admit this, even to herself. It seemed to free her of a responsibility which she had blindly assumed and for which Fate had not fitted her. (p. 40)
Reading the above two passages it is clear that Mrs. Pontellier feels she is different from other mothers. She is not a "mother-woman". Those maternal beings are "angels" who "flutter" about and protect their children, even if they are in no danger. They are not flesh and blood women with lives of their own. Surely they must have begun life that way, but the passage claims that as they "minister" to their children they "grow wings and become angels. Mrs. Pontellier's use of words such as "minister", "angel" and "worship" must mean that she thinks of motherhood as a religion. While the description of these "mother-women" might imply that they are angelic and selfless, in reality their identity (and existence) depends upon their husband and children. They exist only in a familial context. Without their children they would be nothing. If their children are in no real danger, then the "mother-women" must imagine a threat in order to justify their existence. The use of the word "efface" is strong and telling. It literally means "to remove the face". The reader gathers that neither Mrs. Pontellier nor Kate Chopin admires this type of woman.
In order to be socially acceptable in Kate Chopin's time, one certainly needed a husband to have children. Neither of these passages directly refers to Mr. Pontellier. However, since Mrs. Pontellier is not a "mother-woman", the reader can assume that she does not therefore "worship" her husband.
How to Cite this Page
"Evaluation of Mother-Women in Chopin’s The Awakening." 123HelpMe.com. 25 Sep 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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)
- Edna, the Anti-Mother-Woman in Chopin’s The Awakening In short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman. The mother- women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle. It was easy to know them, fluttering about with extended, protecting wings, when any harm, real or imaginary, threatened their precious brood. They were women who idolized their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels. (29) She had all her life long been accustomed to harbor thoughts and emotions which never voiced themselves.... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
568 words (1.6 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 Imagery in Chopin’s The Awakening Several passages in The Awakening struck me because of their similar imagery—a bird, wings, and nudity. The first passage I looked at is in Chapter 9 where Edna Pontellier has a vision of a naked man “standing beside a desolate rock” (47) on a beach who is watching a bird fly away. This image was evoked by a one particular piece that Mme Ratignolle plays which Edna significantly calls “Solitude. ” Apparently Edna frequently envisions certain images while listening to music: “Musical strains, well rendered, had a way of evoking pictures in her mind” (47).... [tags: Chopin Awakening]
734 words (2.1 pages)
- Importance of the Ocean in Chopin's Awakening In Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, Chopin uses the motif of the ocean to signify the awakening of Edna Pontellier. Chopin compares the life of Edna to the dangers and beauty of a seductive ocean. Edna's fascinations with the unknown wonders of the sea help influence the reader to understand the similarities between Edna's life and her relationship with the ocean. Starting with fear and danger of the water then moving to a huge symbolic victory over it, Chopin uses the ocean as a powerful force in Edna's awakening to the agony and complexity of her life.... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
871 words (2.5 pages)
- Symbolism in Kate Chopin's The Awakening Chopin's The Awakening is full of symbolism. Rather than hit the reader on the head with blunt literalism, Chopin uses symbols to relay subtle ideas. Within each narrative segment, Chopin provides a symbol that the reader must fully understand in order to appreciate the novel as a whole. I will attempt to dissect some of the major symbols and give possible explanations as to their importance within the text. Art itself is a symbol of both freedom and failure. In her attempt to become an artist, Edna reaches the zenith of her awakening. She begins to truly understand pure art as a means of self-expression as well as self-assertion. In a si... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays Kate]
1483 words (4.2 pages)
- Kate Chopin's Unorthodox Awakening The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, was a book that was truly ahead of its time. The author of the book was truly a genius in her right, but yet she was seen as a scoundrel. At the time, it was "a world that values only her performance as a mother, whose highest expectations for women are self sacrifice and self-effacement." ( . ) The people of that era were not ready to admit or accept the simple but hidden feelings of intimacy or sexuality and the true nature of womanhood.... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
603 words (1.7 pages)
- Kate Chopin's The Awakening Kate Chopin's novella The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a woman who throughout the novella tries to find herself. Edna begins the story in the role of the typical mother-woman distinctive of Creole society but as the novelette furthers so does the distance she puts between herself and society. Edna's search for independence and a way to stray from society's rules and ways of life is depicted through symbolism with birds, clothing, and Edna's process of learning to swim.... [tags: Kate Chopin Awakening]
1023 words (2.9 pages)
- Understanding Chopin's The Awakening By reading The Awakening, the reader gets a sense of what the life of a Creole woman is like. In actuality, though, it is not until reading the etiquette books, Chopin’s biographical information, and essays about the treatment of women at the time that there can be a deeper understanding of the rules Edna is breaking. Passages from Chopin's Biographical Information Fawned over as a society belle, admired for her cleverness and musical talent, Kate wrote what she really thought in her diary: “I dance with people I despise; amuse myself with men whose only talent is in their feet.” She wrote advice about how to flirt (just keep asking, “What do you th... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
794 words (2.3 pages)
- Kate Chopin's The Awakening Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening expresses the difficulty of finding a woman’s place in society. Edna learns of new ideas such as freedom and independence while vacationing in Grand Isle. Faced with a choice to conform to society’s expectations or to obey personal desires for independence, Edna Pontellier realizes that either option will result in dissatisfaction. Thus, Edna’s awakening in Grand Isle leads to her suicide. Edna’s awakening occurs during her family’s vacation in Grand Isle.... [tags: Kate Chopin Awakening Essays]
1346 words (3.8 pages)
Kate Chopin's evaluation of the "mother-women" is timeless and right- on- the- money. In this paper I refer to "mother-women" in the present tense not only because Chopin does, but also because these women still exist. I have known many and like Mrs. Pontellier I too have felt both guilt and relief that I am not one. Chopin's description of Mrs. Pontellier's maternal feelings as "uneven" and "impulsive" is so realistic, it is disturbing Although we think we have nothing in common with our ancestral mothers, The Awakening proves us wrong. Whatever the era, motherhood is a fluid and changing state of being.