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Selfish Edna of The Awakening
In Kate Chopin’s, The Awakening, the reader immediately notices the sexual undertones of Mrs. Mallard and Robert’s relationship and the strained relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Mallard. There are always going to be women who do not want the routine “married with children” lifestyle, unfortunately in Edna’s time period that was the primary role of women. Had she been living in today perhaps she would have been without a husband and children, possibly totally devoted to a career in the arts and totally single. Back to her reality though: I believe she is unsure if she wants that one true love (supposedly Robert) or if she just wants anyone who will pay her a little attention and is fun (supposedly Alcee Arobin). Edna wants to be Wild and Free, not saying that there is anything wrong with that, but she needs to recognize it for what it is because she is really fooling herself.
Edna’s husband is looking for the all devoted wife and mother and Edna is looking for anything that’s not conforming. Due to that it really strikes me as being ironic that she and Mrs. Ratignolle would be such good friends. I can’t tell if that is because secretly maybe Edna wish she could be happy with the life she is leading (like Mrs. Ratignolle) or does she want to have her around as a reminder of all she never wants to be.
I found all of her “times of awakening” to be interesting because they usually included hr being very abrupt and uncooperative with her husband. She liked to wander off without him allot and only seemed to really be happy when quietly tucked away somewhere with someone else (not always a man). I found her to also be a bit vain in that she made sure she got something from everyone she allowed into her life but she didn’t really seem to give back. She was so angry with herself and the world that she was subjected to live the life that she was living that she sometimes wanted to make everyone else pay for it.
Her husband and her were apart a lot, so that even if they had been in a good relationship the time apart would have still caused problems “I believe in out of sight out of mind, rather than, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
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To end it all (literally) she kills herself. What was that all about? She wanted to find herself and she is actually taking all that she has found away. She could have ran way, leaving her husband and kids (not that I am condoning that) she could have gotten a divorce (couldn’t she??) .
Edna was extremely SELFISH and UNCARING but I would not have expected much more from her. The suicide was typical of Edna because she always did things in haste and never stopped to think about the consequences. Edna had said at one point in the novel that she would need to evaluate her life and see what type of person she was in (hopes so that she can try to change some of the bad). "One of these days," she said, "I'm going to pull myself together for a while and think--try to determine what character of a woman I am; for, candidly, I don't know. By all the codes which I am acquainted with, I am a devilishly wicked specimen of the sex. But some way I can't convince myself that I am. I must think about it."
She never did take the time to ever do that though, and I think that every human being at one time or another needs to sit down and evaluate their lives to see where they have been, where they are now, in hopes to get to where they hope to be. Portales’ says “that Edna wanted an undefined, unexpressed, ineffable life that she cannot articulate or shape...”. This to me shows itself in the flip-flop “love interests” in Robert and the Alcee. If Robert was her one true love then why did Alcee even have to come into play? Because Edna doesn’t know what she wants, THAT”S WHY!!! She is so very sporadic in her affections (with everyone) She is at her wits end with her husband, to the point where she almost has no affection left for him
“And the ladies all declared that Mr. Pontellier was the best husband in the world and Mrs. Pontellier was forced to admit that she knew of none better.”
Then she cries when he leaves for his business trip to New York as if she is losing her “one and true love”:
“She cried when he went away, calling him her dear, good friend, and she was quite certain she would grow lonely before very long and go to join him in New York.”
She is the same way with Robert, Alcee and even her “Beloved Children”, whom speaking of which, she doesn’t think about at all. Where are they going to be now that she has killed herself, no child should have to live without a mom (remember: this death could have been prevented). I also don’t want to hear the bull about death being the way out for the women in her time period “THAT IS RIDICULOUS”, there (in my opinion) is always a different route one can take when they are at their weakest rather than taking their own life. Edna is a selfish, uncaring woman and if her death did anything it was to help get rid of someone who didn’t care about anything or anyone.