Feminism in The Awakening Story by Kate Chopin
According to history, the 19th was the period when a woman's role was strictly hindered by the adoration of her kids and compliance with her husband. However, like in every period, people fought to change reality and create a better world not only for men but also for women. The Awakening, the novel written by Kate Chopin, was a complete contradiction of societal conventions of the period. The story of Edna Pontellier, the woman whose life was filled with the failures and victories fighting against strict cultural claims. It is impossible to deny that the essay focuses on the feminist outlook, but a few other mindsets can be viewed, including the psychoanalytical and historical.
First of all, before the readers try to take any position, they should deal with the definitions. According to the information presented by reputable sources, the psychoanalytic perspective is described as a way to reveal the impact on the subliminal in the plot, setting, symbols, themes, language, and character development. The historical perspective, in turn, focuses on the cultural, social, political, and economic units and traditions in order to explain reality.
Irrespective of these divisions, Edna is the woman fighting against the pressures of 1899 that forced her to be a devoted housewife and obedient human. The novel does not only stand for feminism, it inspired it, as the writer is strongly convinced that the women’s desires, emotions, and feelings should be as significant as men’s.
The main character of the novel, a desperate feminist, decides to live for herself, sacrificing nothing for others. Edna is strongly convinced that her inner individuality is her only chance to move forward, gaining her sexuality and opinions. Complete freedom of the mind and body is the central idea of the story. Edna’s rebellion against the traditions of that time is depicted in numerous ways. In some instances, she is characterized as a strong woman who chooses herself instead of others, while in different situations, the author says that she is not a mother-woman. Yet, irrespective of the circumstances, Edna is filled with restless power and a desire to break the boundaries and be set free.
At this point, it is inevitable to mention that the author uses symbolism to tell about the feelings and emotions of Edna. From the beginning up to the very end, the image of birds appears in the story. The caged parrot yelling “Get out!” is the way to represent the relationship Edna has with her husband. That parrot symbolized Edna, who is caged at home with her responsibilities and obligations. She has a burning desire to break free but does not have enough strength and will to do it. Finally, at some point, her attitude to people and possessions changes, and she is ready to sacrifice everything to obtain her desired freedom. Later Chopin uses the same symbol of the bird to emphasize how a caged bird can find itself trapped behind bars without any hope. Nonetheless, there is always a way out, you should just find the right one for you.
At some point, a new character, Mr. Arobin, is introduced to the readers. His last name resembles the name of the bird, robin, which is the symbol of complete freedom. It can fly from one nest to another without any restrictions and limits. Even though he is not looking for love or affairs, he happens to be in a situation when he cannot resist the temptation.
Edna was jealous of Alcee’s freedom, and she could not help but become its part. The sexual affair set Edna’s inner inhabitations free, highlighting her independence. However, Chopin still compares the woman to a bird with a broken wing, as she is trapped between her desires and responsibilities. Striving to find her inner identity and finally obtain the desired freedom, Edna ends up in suicide.
Once the woman receives the independence she wanted so badly, she acknowledges there is nothing else in the whole world she desires. At some point, the woman feels no interest in anything about herself, so she realizes that she cannot grasp her femininity entirely. Edna descends into believing that life is a stream of unfortunate setbacks that will not change. Therefore, life has no meaning, as there seems to be no hope for a better future. Throughout the novel, the woman’s understanding of things around her is increasing, the struggle becomes more complicated, but still, she manages it.
Even though her effort to set free from burdensome society is credible, the committed suicide can be treated as a complete waste of her strength, defying the personification of feminism.
The Awakening is not a story of a trivial woman, it is a novel about a true rebel who is determined to be awakened in every single aspect of her life. Edna is not ready to compromise her desires in order to create an image of a happy family, mother, or wife. Using various symbols, Chopin depicts the problems Edna faces and the harsh reality she has to live through.
Generally, it is inevitable to admit that feminism remains the main theme of the novel. Chopin depicts Edna’s life as a constant fight for her rights. She achieves her goal and obtains complete freedom. Even though the price is too high, Chopin strives to highlight that it is 100% worth it. Edna remains alive even after death.
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Woman and Society: Essay Example on the Core Themes of The Awakening. (2021, Dec 02). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/woman-and-society-in-the-core-themes-of-the-awakening
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