Feminist Aspects In The Awakening By Kate Chopin
The author of The Awakening was from St. Louis, Missouri. Kate Chopin is known for writing short stories such as “The Storm”, “The Story of an Hour” and “A Pair of Silk Stockings.” She published two novels in addition to her short stories, At Fault and The Awakening. Her first novel, At Fault, went largely unnoticed after its publication in 1890. Her final novel, The Awakening was published in 1899. The critics and public both condemned the novel, calling it vulgar. After Chopin’s death her work was forgotten until it was rediscovered in the 1950’s by scholars. If you like the aspects of Chopin’s writing, then you might also like Susan Glaspell and Charlotte Perkins Gilman writing style.
Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, was published in the year 1899. This means that the novel was written during the Reconstruction Era of the United States after the end of the Civil War. This was a time when white men held virtually all the power in the United States. Therefore, much of the public had a lot of issues with Chopin’s feminist aspects. They did not enjoy the brutal honesty with which she wrote about the life of a woman at that time. The political climate of the time influenced the story. If the climate had been different then the story could have been received better. This story would be able to be written today. The people today would embrace the story and enjoy the story of a woman finding herself. There are many novels and tv shows that center around the same thing that Chopin wrote about.
The Awakening walks readers through the life of Edna Pontellier. In the story she defies the social standards in many ways. For the first half of the summer New Orleans natives Leonce and Edna Pontellier are vacationing in Grand Isle, Louisiana. During this time Edna meets a man named Robert Leburn. Edna begins to fall in love with him and question her treatment by her husband. The presence of Robert begins to change the way Edna thinks of herself. She starts to develop certain interest and desires that her simple life as a mother and wife does not satisfy. Robert soon realizes the feeling Edna has develop for him and leaves her. During the second half of the novel the Pontellier’s return to their life in New Orleans. Edna becomes increasingly unhappy with her life and at the end of the novel she decides to take her own life by walking out into the ocean.
Throughout the novel Kate Chopin does a good job of focusing on a theme of self-expression or the language at which we use to express ourselves. During this novel Edna learns different aspects of this language from many different people during her awakening. An example of this is the way the creole women behave. Chopin writes “A characteristic that distinguished them and which impressed Mrs. Pontellier most forcibly was their entire absence of prudery.” (IV) Edna was raised to meet social standings. She was taught to be polite and kind and uphold the obligations to society, but these women were doing the opposite. Chopin writes “Their freedom of expression was at first incomprehensible to her…” (IV). A book was passed around that Edna felt she needed to read “in secret and solitude.” (IV) but these women openly discussed it with no shame. These women show her that she can show her emotions and sexuality without fear. Another person who helps Edna with her self-expression is Robert Leburn. Edna’s marriage is a loveless one, more of a social expectation. Robert showers her with love and attention things Mr. Pontellier has never shown her. Edna feels, “The sentiment which she entertained for Robert in no way resembled that which she felt for her husband, or had ever felt, or ever expected to feel. She had all her life long been accustomed to harbor thoughts and emotions which never voiced themselves.” (XVI) Now she began to want certain things and feel certain emotions “She began to do as she liked and to feel as she liked. She completely abandoned her Tuesdays at home, and did not return the visits of those who had called upon her. She made no ineffectual efforts to conduct her household en bonne menagere, going and coming as it suited her fancy, and, so far as she was able, lending herself to any passing caprice.” (XIX) Edna completely changed throughout the novel not just a little bit, Edna changed so much that towards the end of the novel she began to surpass everyone who showed her what is was like to express her emotions. Its as if she came full circle at the beginning of the novel she was unhappy and lonely not expressing her emotions, feeling as if no one understands her and now after learning to express herself people still do not understand her and she is just as lonely.
Kate Chopin succeed in causing controversy with her publication of this novel whether that was her intentions or not. She made people open their eyes to the expectation society puts on women. Get married at a certain age and then become a slave to your husband, do things not because you want to but because your social standing does.
Senseless, inferior, and sensual are words that describe a woman. Marriage inhibits an individual from becoming an influential figure in feminist society. One may seek marital liberation and individuality in a male dominant society. In the novel The Awakening, Kate Chopin illustrates that a sense of freedom and independence come into realization when weak women confront conformist societies. This symbolizes the societal expectations of a married woman, the conflict with society’s oppression on Edna, and the development through the characters...
The paintings being compared and contrasted within this essay include Ophelia and The Awakening Conscience, both of which can be found in the Tate Modern Museum, located in London, UK. Ophelia was created by Sir John Everett Millais, Bt between 1851-1852 using oil paint on canvas, with the dimensions coming in at around 30in x 44in. The Awakening Conscience was created by William Holman Hunt in 1853, who also used oil paint on canvas to create his masterpiece with dimensions...
In a society where sex is consistently consumed in our daily media, it’s hard to conceptualize a time period when sex was a taboo conversation spoken only behind closed doors. From the late 1800s until the mid-1900s, sexual promiscuity was a subject not often spoken aloud. It was considered “dirty” and “perverse” to speak of such things, yet, authors, playwrights, and artists continued to use their works to portray sexuality in their own ways. Down south, in the heart of...
Kate Chopin (1850-1904) have become distinguished in the field of literature, especially in feminism and liberalism. She is quite remarkable by her independent spirit, her rebellious desires and her native aptitude for narration. At an early age, Chopin’s initial signs of depression can be easily spotted after the losses of her father, her great-grandmother, her half-brother and her friend Kitty in a short time (wikipedia). The death of her husband and mother aggravated the disastrous situation. Chopin was left alone...
‘The Awakening’ is a novel by Kate Chopin that was first published in 1899 and set in New Orleans and on the Louisiana Gulf coast at the end of the 19th century. The plot circles around Edna Pontellier and her struggle between her views on motherhood and feminism. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women’s issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as controversial work of early feminism, generating a mixed reaction from contemporary...
The story The Awakening was written by Kate Chopin around 1899 in New Orleans. The main characters in the story are Edna Pontellier, her husband Leonce Pontellier, their two kids, and Robert Lebrun. Edna and her family went on a vacation to Cheniere Caminada Island on a Creole resort. Unlike every other woman of that time she would take care of the kids, be submissive to her husband, and be a homemaker. She began to sort for freedom after she...
Power, or the desire for it, is an intoxicating, and at times corrupting concept. Power could mean authority, or freedom: both of which the protagonist in The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Edna Pontellier, longs for. In an ironic twist that seems almost out of place in book that deals with gender power dynamics and the constraints of the Victorian Era, what initially empowers and frees Edna eventually leads to her personal and social undoing, and finally her death at her...
The novel of The Awakening (1899) by author Kate Chopin presents a journey of physical, spiritual and sexual transformation of the protagonist, Edna Pontellier, a middle-class mother and wife in Louisianan society during the late 19th-century. The novel is set in three divergent, distinctive spaces physically represented as an island, linking the mainland of New Orleans and the ocean. New Orleans functions to marginalise Edna as she inhabits the patriarchally controlled society whilst the ocean provides a space away from...
The Awakening by Kate Chopin is circulated around Edna Pontellier, the protagonist and the events throughout her married life. Chopin did not have the intention to show how different Edna is compared to her society of perfect “mother-woman”, but instead shows the way Edna becomes self-aware and discovers more meaning to her life. Chopin made it possible for the readers to give Edna’s awakening value by Edna freeing herself, which leads to taking her own life. Chopin made it prominent...
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