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.
Essay on the Characters in The Awakening
Importance of the Characters in The Awakening
The Awakening was a very exciting and motivating story. It contains some of the key motivational themes that launched the women’s movement. It was incredible to see how women were not only oppressed, but how they had become so accustomed to it, that they were nearly oblivious to the oppression. The one woman, Edna Pontellier, who dared to have her own feelings was looked upon as being mentally ill. The pressure was so great, that in the end, the only way that she felt she could be truly free was to take her own life. In this paper I am going to concentrate on the characters central in Edna’s life and her relationships with them.
Leonce Pontellier, the character portraying Edna’s husband was a man very traditional in his thinking. He was self-absorbed and honestly did not see the fault in his own ways. He sincerely believed that Edna was the most important person in his life. However we notice throughout the story that his behavior was in direct contrast with that statement. Edna is only important to him, as in how she effects him and the effect her actions has on his life.
If we look at chapter three, Leonce comes home in the middle of the night, awakening his wife whom is fast asleep. He immediately beings to give her the details of his day. When she is unable to fully reply, because she is half asleep, he becomes upset. He states that she is the sole object of his existence and he is upset that she takes so little interest in his concerns. If she was indeed the sole object of his existence, he would have been more considerate than to awaken her in the middle of the night, because he wanted to talk.
Also look at chapter 32, when Leonce, learns that Edna is mov…
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…e will never have a taste of life’s delirium. Could this mean that as long as you do not take risks, float on the edge and cease being content, you do not truly live or enjoy the “craziness” of life?
More similar to Edna is Mademoiselle Reisz. Like Edna, Mademoiselle. Reisz was a free spirit who did not agree with oppression of women at that time. She was looked upon as being weird and mentally disturbed. Something was definitely wrong with a woman who did not care what others thought and whom chose her own path in life. Mademoiselle Reisz inspired Edna to be true to herself and defy the norms.
It was very appropriate that the ending scene took place at the sea, for it was ion the sea when Edna experienced her first taste of freedom (see Chapter ten). Edna finally empowered herself by deciding her own fate, instead of allowing others to choose it for her.