A fair woman slowly, but surely, makes her way into the water. It is obvious that she is slightly afraid, but not to the point where she is willing to stop progressing into the gradually deepening water. She believes that after she lets the water grab her life, everything will be fine. Sounds appealing? I did not think so. However, Edna Pontellier thinks that this is the best option for her. Drowning seems to be the only way out. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, describes Edna Pontellier’s battle against society, and how she decides to handle this battle. This novel was considered an immoral piece of literature during the early 1900’s. Its descriptions of a strong woman who goes against a grim and strict Creole society shocked critics and readers alike. Edna’s strong will and determination cause changes that were not welcome at the time. Despite the fact that The Awakening was unwelcome in the early 1900’s, it is a widely read novel that most consider to be an extraordinary piece of literature. The Awakening is a great novel because of its unique combination of Romantic, Realistic, and local color writing.
The Awakening demonstrates Romanticism in many ways. The accentuation of the imagination, freedom, emotion, nature, and nobility of the common man characterize Romanticism. The Awakening demonstrates this in many ways. For example, a mockingbird and a parrot are shown to describe the role of women of that time; they had the potential to be successful and respectful citizens, but society kept them caged in. This demonstrates the “natural world” aspect of Romanticism. In addition to this, constant references are ma…
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…nd city names in her writing adds a lot to the feeling behind the novel. Using the name “Grand Isle” has a larger effect on the reader than if she were to say “beach”, or even “summer getaway”. Through the utilization of local color, the reader actually feels that he or she is a part of the novel, walking alongside the characters and feeling all their pain and suffering. He or she can form visual images of life during the time of the Creoles.
Through her inclusion of Romantic, Realistic, and local color writing, Kate Chopin makes The Awakening a truly extraordinary piece of literature. Reading this novel makes the reader feel that he or she is living during the society of that time. This is a unique writing that demonstrates one-of-a-kind combinations of literary elements. Every person should read this novel and appreciate it for the talent.
Feminism in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar
Feminism in The Bell Jar
In Sylvia Plath’s autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, the reader learns of the adventures of a young woman in a male-dominated society that will not let her achieve her true potential. Plath’s alter ego, Esther, is thus driven to a nervous breakdown and attempts suicide numerous times. In many ways, this novel is a feminist text, centered around the struggles of a young woman who cannot reach her goals in our male-dominated society.
People close to Esther, do not accept her talents as a poet and writer, but rather try to push her into traditionally more feminine roles. For example, Esther’s mother repeatedly tries to convince her to learn shorthand, but Esther rebels, saying “…when I tried to picture myself in some job, briskly jotting down line after line of shorthand, my mind went blank.” (100) Esther, unlike many women of her time, refuses to be controlled by society’s gender-based constraints: “The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.” (68) The phrases “infinite security” and “the place an arrow shoots off from” come from Mrs. Willard’s description of the woman’s role in society (58). This passage directly addresses Plath’s central purpose in the novel, which is to look at the mental problems that can befall a woman with ambitions that the surrounding culture will not allow her to fulfill. This book was published in 1963, towards the beginning of the “feminist movement”; the events chronicled in this book, however, take place in 1953 (208), in a period during which women’s rights were not yet widely recognized in our society. The passage quoted above, and the emotions which it conveys, are typical of a feminist like Esther, but Esther is ahead of her time and is thus unable to express herself to society in the way she wants.