Walker's Look Into the Creole Culture Essay

Walker's Look Into the Creole Culture Essay

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Whether it be a person, technology, or the environment, questions of how things persuade a character's behavior always arises. In Nancy Walker's critique called “ [Feminist of Naturalist]”, Walker states that Edna's downward spiraling life is caused by her inability to free herself from her Creole culture. Although it is true that the novel appears to embrace this idea, there are a multitude of moments where Chopin allows Edna to appear as a character who makes decisions for herself. In doing so, Chopin effectively illustrates a flaw in Walkers theory on Creole culture and naturalism, and displays Edna's awkward and uncomfortable feelings towards the Creole lifestyle, revealing her ability to fight against nature, thus making their own choices and destinies.
Chopin depiction of Edna's uneasy feelings about the Creole culture that surrounds her is seen towards the end of the novel, as Mrs. Ratignolle delivers her child. Mrs. Ratignolle, one of the few close friends that Edna has, asks Edna to remain with her as she delivers her baby. As Edna stands she, realizes that her own experience of child birthing, “seemed far away, unreal, and only half remembered(Chopin 104)”. This is in contrast with Walker's argument that, “Chopin caused Edna to be hypnotized by the sensuous Creoles, by the warmth and color of Grand Isle(255)”. Though the word “unreal” suggest a hypnotized state of mind for Edna, almost like a dream, it also suggest a detachment from the scene itself. In stating that child birth for Edna seemed “far away”, and “half remembered”, Chopin depicts a detachment between the tradition and Edna. It is another moment where Edna appears to reject the Creole culture, by pushing it away, putting it furtherest in her mind, unti...


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...to be uncomfortable by the whole scene, yet controls herself from letting her emotions show causing her to do something drastic. Chopin again contradict Walker, illustrating that Creole culture has not taken over Edna's mind, but instead allowed her the ability to revolt against it.
While there are instances in the novel that do suggest Edna's enthrallment in Creole culture, Walker neglects to look at other instances where Edna shows resistance against it. Chopin suggests that although there are a multitude of things that can effect a person decisions, a person in the end makes the decision consciously, and based on their own wants and desires. Regardless of whether Edna would have lived or died, nothing would have changed. Edna was not immersed in her culture, rather she rejected it, and just like she did, perhaps others can reject the influences around them.

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