Essay PreviewMore ↓
The Awakening was shocking to readers in 1899, and would be today if it were published in “Ladies Home Journal”. Even today, women are expected to sacrifice themselves, if not to their husbands, then definitely to their children. I find it interesting that Grand Isle is the setting for the beginning and end of the novel. The story is built around a circle and represents the whirling force that is the energy of Edna’s life. The circle reminds me of Yeats’ “The Second Coming” : “Turning and turning in the widening gyre/things fall apart/the center cannot hold.”
So often I wanted Edna to act and she didn’t, I suppose that it is Chopin’s purpose to not let us into Edna’s thoughts, or make us omniscient of her actions. This was hard for me while reading. I wanted Edna’s point of view, so I could EASILY figure out what she was going to do, and that’s what was most difficult about this novel, and the reason it is not an easy read. I guess this is Chopin’s purpose. An example is when Edna cannot pinpoint why she is crying - the reader is left just as confused as Edna about the emotions.
The sleep motif is very enlightening, in that key moments of Edna’s awakening are preceded by sleep. Sleep, especially for those who are depressed, is used as a way of escape, but in this novel sleep is used mystically as a way for Chopin to show that many things happen while Edna is sleeping that leads to awakening. In this way, the reader can only guess what occurs during sleep.
I found I related to Harding Davis’ work more in that I can relate to Hugh and Deb’s oppression (politically, economically, class structurally). One thing the two works have in common is that both main characters (Hugh and Edna) actually hold the key to their own oppression, yet Edna’s social condition doesn’t require much sympathy from the reader. Also, if a reader cannot step into that world with Chopin, it is difficult to comprehend that kind of oppression. Perhaps it’s not correct to use the term oppression when writing about Edna, as it seems she only lives a life of obligations. She breaks free of these, however, and realizes: “Every step which she took toward relieving herself from obligations added to her strength and expansion as an individual.
How to Cite this Page
"Finding Freedom in Kate Chopin's The Awakening." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Aug 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Finding True Freedom in The Awakening Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening details the endeavors of heroine Edna Pontellier to cope with the realization that she is not, nor can she ever be, the woman she wants to be. Edna has settled for less. She is married for all the wrong reasons, saddled with the burden of motherhood, and trapped by social roles that would never release her. The passage below is only one of the many tender and exquisitely sensory passages that reveal Edna’s soul to the reader.... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
1226 words (3.5 pages)
- Finding Freedom in The Awakening The Awakening was shocking to readers in 1899, and would be today if it were published in “Ladies Home Journal”. Even today, women are expected to sacrifice themselves, if not to their husbands, then definitely to their children. I find it interesting that Grand Isle is the setting for the beginning and end of the novel. The story is built around a circle and represents the whirling force that is the energy of Edna’s life. The circle reminds me of Yeats’ “The Second Coming” : “Turning and turning in the widening gyre/things fall apart/the center cannot hold.” So often I wanted Edna to act and she didn’t, I suppose that it is Chopin’s purpose to not... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
671 words (1.9 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)
- Kate Chopin, in The Awakening, poses an important question: can freedom exist in a society that advocates and supports confinement through the means of reputation, decency, and other social factors. The various characters in the novel make up three levels of awareness of freedom—ignorance, enlightenment, and pursuit. Kate Chopin uses these types of awareness to show that true freedom can never be obtained. The majority of the characters in The Awakening are completely unaware of the freedom that Kate Chopin writes about.... [tags: ignorance, enlightenment, pursuit]
875 words (2.5 pages)
- Does death make people free or are they born with their natural freedom and find the heavy hands of society clasping around us as we grow older and our minds become more influenced by the people around us. Throughout the book The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier finds herself pondering the thought of freedom and what it takes to achieve being free. There are many symbols, people and times of Edna’s self-refection when we see examples of this. First of all, The Awakening was enriched with symbols and motifs for Chopin to get her point across for those who were willing to look for the deeper meaning.... [tags: Symbolism, Creole]
914 words (2.6 pages)
- Freedom means to be able to do what one desires to do without being restricted from doing that action. In Kate Chopin’s book The Awakening, she displays how the protagonist, Edna, escapes from her relationship and society .She feels cornered by society and she is not satisfied with her relationship. Mr.Pontellier Edna’s husband does not treat her with respect, but as if she is a child. Edna is trying to get out of the relationship because she wants to be treated equally (Chopin). During the 1800s, oppression of women was beginning to happen more frequently with women not taking anymore of the unfair rights and actions toward women.... [tags: relationships, protagonist, suffrage]
777 words (2.2 pages)
- In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, one of the most prevalent and recurring themes and ideas relates to human freedom. The main characters in the two novels, Edna Pontellier and Jane Eyre, both long for social, religious, and sexual emancipation among other things – freedom from the constraints of Victorian society, which have rendered them dependent and inferior to men. While it is true that both protagonists of their respective novels wanted emancipation, their living conditions and qualities of life varied widely.... [tags: The Awakening, Jane Eyre, compare, contrast]
1765 words (5 pages)
- “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]
974 words (2.8 pages)
- ... She could not work on such a day, nor weave fancies to stir her pulses and warm her blood.” (97). She recognizes the pointlessness of the life she is living, she realizes that without change, her life has no direction. If she continued with her uneventful existence, she would never experience anything she wants to experience. Her pessimistic view of her world is one of the key reasons that she undergoes her transformation; she was thirsting for an adventure so that she could leave her life behind.... [tags: stereotypes, freedom, society]
688 words (2 pages)
- Suicide in Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening Suicide is often thought of as a very sad and quick answer to problems, such as depression but in Kate Chopin's novel, she ironically portrays suicide as a passage to freedom. The Awakening (1899) is a short novel that depicts the life of a young housewife struggling for her independence, sexuality, and her self worth in an unromantic marriage. The author, through three major actions, shows the successful and triumphant "awakening" of Edna Pontellier.... [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
762 words (2.2 pages)
- growaw Edna Pontellier’s Rebirth in Kate Chopin's The Awakening
- growaw Edna Pontellier’s Identity in Kate Chopin's The Awakening
- growaw Unfulfilled Edna Pontellier of Kate Chopin's The Awakening
- Essay Comparing The Awakening and Story of an Hour
- Essay on the Characters in The Awakening
- Selfish Edna Pontellier of Kate Chopin's The Awakening
In the novel, Reisz and Ratignolle can be interpreted to represent the two opposing and oppressive parts of Edna’s self that existed before the “sleeping places of her soul” were awakened. Through her painting (Chopin’s obvious comment on the freedom that comes from creative expression,) Edna awakens to find what’s meaningful in her life. She begins to walk more; to work outside in the garden with her fingers in the earth; to paint (although Ratignolle says Edna has no talent); she desires a “room of one’s own,” etc.
Throughout the work are many references to the sea: “The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is so sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.” Chopin’s words eloquently describe the feelings associated with the sea, and reminds me of the liquid in the womb that surrounds us all in our beginnings, our “awakenings.” It seems in the end, Edna chooses to return to the safety of the sea. I thought it was beautiful the way Chopin had Edna reveal herself to the world and the sea in the end by shedding her wrap and suit: “there beside the sea, absolutely alone ... for the first time in her life she stood naked in the open air, at the mercy of the sun ...” What a freedom she possesses here, just before her death. Not many women take the opportunity to be this free in their lifetimes - I wonder if Chopin ever did?