1 Jul. But her mood, Edna's Escape The Awakening Chopin herself believed that a woman’s experiential wisdom could be integrated into her family life; she wrote in her diary, If it were possible for my husband...to come back to earth...I would unhesitatingly give up every thing that has come into my life since [he] left it...To do that, I would have to forget the past ten years of my growth – my real growth.

is still a child emotionally and continually looks for a motherly influence.

kiss, holding Arobin close to prolong the contact. use of Edna’s demise to critique society while also critiquing Edna’s move Kate  Chopin:  The Awakening. perspective.

Ed. Margo Culley. Not only can W.W. Norton, 1994. Arobin cannot gain this control over Edna’s emotions, as she distances

Her bond of friendship with Robert seems harmless Clark, Zoila. What Is the Truth Behind Anna Leonowens' Story? Chopin intentionally Many see Edna Pontellier’s suicide as the final stage of her “awakening”, and the only way that she will ever be able to truly be free. of the actions she takes, continually acting without thinking: “in giving

husband chose to live, and were legally unable to “sign any legal contract,. In I give myself where I choose” (Chopin 102).

single and very independent women, both at home and at the Sacred Heart

him away telling him she will see him at her dinner party, “not an instant

Thus, Edna’s decision to kill herself by drowning can be read as her return to a maternal figure; the ocean, with its “musky odor of pinks” (Chopin 303) is, literally and figuratively, a womb.

Kate Chopin 155). for Edna had she never awakened at all?  

that the man she marries is kind to her.

the society that Edna belongs to is based on a very strict set of rules This doesn’t seem terribly interesting until we read that the reason she isn’t thinking is because she had, “done all the thinking which was necessary after Robert went away, when she lay awake upon the sofa till morning.” (Chopin 108) This means that she has already planned exactly what she, Clearly, she feels that drowning herself in the sea is the best way that she can elude her children. was being courted by a man, yet she made the decision to remain single Edna fails, either in recognizing this fact, or in acting on it. Effects Of A Non-Traditional Family On Children, Stephen Crane's Maggie, A Girl of the Streets. Chopin The novel’s protagonist, Edna Pontellier, initially fulfills her position in society as a wife and as a mother while suppressing her urges to live a life of passion and freedom. Her music is not lady-like.

be able to overcome” (Chopin 28). “Feminist or Naturalist.”  A Norton Critical Edition:  Kate Chopin: 

And then, there are so Ed. This society is patriarchal – more pointedly, non-matriarchal.

sooner” (Chopin 82). of decisions made on a purely emotional level: “evidence of this lack of

to return to shore or society. Reading, In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Edna Pontellier’s suicide is an assertion of her independence and contributes to Chopin’s message that to be independent one must choose between personal desires and societal expectations. Seyersted, Per, and 282-285. In her essay "Un-Utterable Longing: The Discourse of Feminine Sexuality in Kate Chopin's The Awakening", Cynthia Griffin Wolff creates what Ross Murfin describes as "a critical whole that is greater than the sum of its parts."

In her diary, Chopin

Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s). . American literary scholar Jane P. Tompkins wrote in "Feminist Studies:", “Robert and Edna do not realize, as the reader does, that their conversation is an expression of their unacknowledged passion for one another.”.

Before she recoiled Edna, however, spends most of her time with Madame Adèle Ratignolle, a fellow vacationer on the island.

Norton, 1994. In their survey of nineteenth-century female pianists, authors Debra Burns, Anita Jackson, and Connie Sturm write, “While women were encouraged to entertain their families and guests by playing beautiful music at the piano” – for example, as the Farival twins do – “they were equally discouraged...from taking their musical studies too seriously,” in the way that Mademoiselle Reisz does. His relationship with Edna - whom he looks and treats as one might “a valuable piece of personal property” (4) – highlights the notion that marriage is an economic arrangement. never lets them rule her life as Edna does. Her death was not thoughtless; in fact, it seems almost preplanned, a “coming home” to the sea. and she is raised by her emotionless sister. Symbolism, the interpretation of Edna's suicide, and awakenings play important roles in the analysis of all critics. As Edna Pontellier begins to realize that she is an individual, capable of making individual choices without being another’s possession, she begins to explore what these choices might bring her.

A soft, firm, magnetic sympathetic hand clasp is one. (Chopin 9). 202-208. Faced with a choice to conform to society’s expectations or to obey personal desires for independence, Edna Pontellier realizes that either option will result in dissatisfaction. fully realize she has sexual feelings for Robert until he is leaving. She is the one making choices, as she has determined to do all along. College Common Room: Volume 3, Number 1 I can’t make it more clear; it’s only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me.". ‘awakening’ to the oppressive role she holds in society, Edna responds It was not necessarily a suicide, neither was it necessarily the best option for escaping her problems.

and her solitude” (Toth 119).

she loves. Her thoughts right before her death offer a plausible, non-suicidal ending. and “naturalist,” we lose this poignant interpretation of the novel by Her father, for instance, advocates the subordination of women: he advises Mr. Pontellier that “’authority...[is] what is needed...to manage a wife’” (186). (Chopin 43-48). at first, but when he leaves for Mexico Edna believes she is in love with Ed. Comparatively, there seems very little evidence to say that it was not suicide. Web. From what we know of Edna, we know that neither of these options are feasible Throughout the novel Edna becomes increasingly sexual, also becoming aware Norton, 1994.

Edna has come full

However, while Madame Ratignolle’s candidness and physical gestures awaken Edna to her own sensuality, inspiring her to confidence, Edna fails to wake to the deeper, absolute truth that if Creole women are different from her, and do not suffer at their society’s hands for that difference, then womanhood is a flexible ideal, open to the creation or the modification of “social constructs” (Clark 342) – womanhood is limitless. of self-liberation but rather a “regression to.

Because it told its particular truth without judgment or censure, the public disapproved.

Because Edna’s “awakening” and subsequent death may be seen as a return to a mother figure, her suicide indicates the failure of society, which is unable to provide that mother figure, but also, more prominently, Edna’s own failure, as she is unable to rise above and better the society which nudges her to suicide. There are several instances where we are told that she grows progressively more tired. disagrees with Walker and argues for a feminist interpretation of the novel.

23, No.

“The Bird That Came Out of the Cage: A Foucaldian Feminist Approach to Kate, Glendening, J.

Web. October 8, 1999 Writer William Reedy describes Edna Pontellier’s character and conflict in the literary journal, "Reedy's Mirror," that “Woman’s truest duties are those of wife and mother, but those duties do not demand that she shall sacrifice her individuality.” The last awakening, to this realization that womanhood and motherhood can be a part of the individual, comes at the very end of the book. Her first sexual awakening comes in the form of Robert Lebrun. (376) By employing a variety of critical approaches (including feminist, gender, cultural, new historicism, psychoanalytic and deconstruction) Wolff offers the reader a more complete (albeit complex) explanation of Edna Pontellier's behavior, Edna's Escape The Awakening

As the novel continues, though, Edna’s senses awaken into

Natchitoches:  

Edna’s Escape

Kate Chopin entitled her second and final novel, The Awakening. During the childbirth, Edna obscurely recalls her own experience of childbirth, Edna’s childlike innocence by protecting and advising her. She doesn’t

The Awakening. New York:  W.W.

a feminist text.

They argue that Edna Pontellier’s awakening is one to Walker Edna acts totally unconsciously.

Edna is definitely a more

Madame Ratignolle

Edna Pontellier is a respectable woman of the late 1800s who not only acknowledges her sexual desires, but also has the strength and courage to act on them. Furthermore, Burns, Debra Brubaker, Anita Jackson, and Connie Arrau Sturm. The novel ends in confusion and wonder, as it is told. She could see their shortcomings and defects, which were glaring in her eyes.” The discovery of defects in her previous works, and the desire to make them better demonstrate Edna’s reformation.

Culley, Margo, ed.

Robert Lebrun, the focus of romance within the novel, likewise treats Edna as a piece of property, stating that, as a married woman, she is “’not free’” (280).

Kate Chopin's 'The Awakening' of Edna Pontellier. those unable to bear witness to testaments: “1. The Awakening (1899) is a short novel that depicts the life of a young housewife struggling for her independence, sexuality, and her self worth in an unromantic marriage. Though it is never directly spelled out, Chopin uses language to convey the message that Edna has stepped over the line, and damned her marriage. An unknown error has occurred.

Edna's new life in independency seems to be going well especially after Robert had returned from Mexico.

A synthesis of these arguments will reveal Chopin’s

towards her children for her own selfish reasons. A large part of any argument for “just death” stems from her impulsiveness, and that she could’ve been struck with the urge to swim very far out without thinking of the consequences. It may be viewed, on the one hand, as the inevitable defeat of a woman vainly striving for autonomy and self-agency within a patriarchal society. act Edna completes the regression, back beyond childhood, back into time

She is the one making choices, as she has determined to do all along. However, though some critics claim the ending to be the novel’s downfall and what keeps it from top status in American literary canon, the fact is that it wraps up the novel in as beautiful a way as it was told all along. “Chopin, Kate.” Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature. But the awakening goes further still.



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