Awakening themes essay

awakening themes essay

Pssst… we can write an original essay just for you. During this time, women were legally viewed as the property of their husbands, and were often shamed for things like sexual promiscuity, lack of dependence on a husband, taking up jobs other than homemaker, and failure to dedicate their lives to the lives of their children.

While the process of childbirth and childcare is a very necessary thing for the continuation of the human race, it is depicted here in a negative light, as a sign of entrapment, dependance, and conventionality. However, unlike many other issues of sexual discrimination, the natural obligations of childbearing cannot be reversed because they are innate, biological functions, giving this concept an important role in the central conflict of the novel.

All that the protagonist, Edna, desires is to be free of responsibilities that other people so frequently place on her shoulders.

She wants to be completely independent and to rely only on herself for the things she needs in life. The motive behind this desire stems partly from the oppression she faces from the members of her community regarding her children, particularly her husband, Leonce. As wife and mother, Edna is expected to base her entire existence around her children. When she fails to do so, her husband shames her, treating her as if motherhood is the only valuable identity for a woman to have. This is clearly due to the social and cultural pressures that were the norm at the time.

Directly after this altercation, Edna feels as though there was a weight placed on her; the weight of unfair societal expectations for her priorities. Having her identify defined as the type of mother that she is makes her feel worthless to everyone besides her two children. Edna gradually withdrawals from her past life and forms a new one, synonymous to a rebirth.

During this period of time, however, she is unable to distance herself from her children, nor break the emotional ties that she has to them. This reinforces the idea that, in the Victorian era, no matter how much independence a woman gains from her husband, her job, her friends, she still cannot escape the responsibility of child-care. The most defining moment of the novel occurs at the climax, where Edna witnesses Adele in labor.

Major Themes of The Awakening

This event arguably traumatizes Edna, leading her into a deep depression. But the sheer, inescapable reality of childbirth breaks into that space and roots her entirely to the here and now.

In this story, Eve is punished by condemnation to painful childbirth for all women to come for eternity. Genesis Viewing God as the highest, most powerful being, painful childbirth is essentially unavoidable, particularly during the Victorian era with lack of modern medicine.

She begins to realize that in rejecting childbirth and child-care, or in her opinion, oppression, she is also rejecting her own nature and biological womanly purpose. She begins to feel sick as she discovers the truth of her situation: that she cannot abandon her children and live on her own, which means that she will never achieve complete independence. Oh think of the children! By the end of the novel, Edna makes a decision regarding her conflict.

This results in her ultimate suicide as a means of escape from societal pressures that she cannot overcome.

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While Edna did not want to care for her children any longer, she still loved them and would sacrifice her life for theirs. The alternative would be to accept her motherly responsibility and attempt to live in oppression as something she is not.

awakening themes essay

Just as Edna told Adele, she the would sooner die than give up herself, or her sense of identity and new life. Her ultimate failure to overcome the expectation of childbirth and childcare is indicative that this is not a societal expectation, but a natural one.

This tragic story conveys the reality of life for many women in the Victorian era who were the victims of sexual prejudice and oppression. Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student. Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website.

We will occasionally send you account related emails. Sorry, we cannot unicalize this essay.We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. Views Essay, Pages 10 words. In considering other themes related to psychology and sociology, aside from gender, one also notes that Edna is a married woman with children living within or among the social mores and constructs of her time, the late 19th century in the southern Catholic region of the United States, mostly on Grand Isle, a sleepy coastal island getaway on the Gulf for people, mainly women, of urban New Orleans.

The late 19th century was not a time of freedom and independence for the single woman. Largely, a woman during this time was still mostly dependent on the care from her father and then, subsequently, on the care from her husband. Although Edna yearns for love in another relationship with another man, she sees little way out of her unsatisfactory relationship with her husband. Verified writer. Although Edna is depressed, sleepy, lazy on the island shore, she is literally unable to move emotionally in her life.

She sees no complete future for herself as a single woman with children, and she sees no complete future for herself remaining married. The only outlet satisfactory to Edna would be a transfer of herself to another man, yet the man she loves and has passion for, the man who claims to love her, Robert, rejects her in favor of the conventional mores of the time.

She is married with children, therefore perceived by him as inaccessible Holz, 4. The theme of struggling for independence or struggling for awakening to oneself is constantly bombarded with the theme of social correctness. In aiming to liberate herself, to be honest with herself, Edna affirms her lack of love for her husband and opens her heart to the love of Robert, she begins painting again and unleashes the artist within her, coaxed by the local pianist Mademoiselle Reisz, and she learns how to swim, moving out into the Gulf waters with confidence.

Her friend Adele is the epitome of the graceful southern wife and mother, and Adele encourages Edna to return to her husband and children and to forget Robert.

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The local doctor encourages Edna to visit him, because he believes she is confused in her passions and hurting her marriage. Finally, Robert himself leaves Edna a note of farewell, emphasizing his inability to remain with her due to the ideas of what is socially and morally correct.

Although she herself moves toward freedom, society is unable to allow her to live freely and to follow her passions, and, so, in the end, Edna sees no other option for herself than to free herself through death, escaping her caged situation in life. Although Adele and Mademoiselle Reisz are complete opposites, they are both central characters in helping to define Edna and lend to the theme of the self actualized woman as opposed to the repressed woman.

In Adele, one is able to see and appreciate a woman who is happily married and devoted to her husband and children. Mademoiselle Reisz is also an inspiration to Edna, but in a very different way. In Reisz, Edna sees the freedom of the single woman and artist, totally independent of any man and completely self sufficient.

Adele and Reisz serve as polar opposites of exactly where Edna is not. In viewing Edna from another perspective, from the perspective of a more passive player being manipulated by more powerful outside forces, the case could be made around the theme of selfish men. The men who surround her and want her, namely Robert and Alcee, certainly disregard and disrespect the fact that Edna is a married woman with children.

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The time and attention these men devote to her, the sexual advances or sexual acts these men commit with Edna, could be viewed as inappropriate advances by men, people with much more power in the social structure than women. Edna can be viewed as a passive player being charmed and moved by the lustful desires of the men who surround her.The novel criticizes the patriarchal society that deprives a woman of her freedom to think, feel and act as she pleases.

Girls are taught from a young age to betray their own instincts and live a dual life which consists of an inner and an outer self. Edna defies society by moving out of her own home, having an affair and even claiming ownership of her own self. Societal conventions take hold of the characters in the novel and causes them to live under false pretense. On the other end of the spectrum, motherhood is slavery to Edna and she often sees her children as an evil entity trying to take away her freedom.

These two views of motherhood reflect the romanticist vs realist views held by both characters respectively. This is one of the main themes of the novel as the story of Edna could be seen as an analogy of the feminist revolution. Edna experiences an awakening and discovers the numerous ways she had been oppressed i. She rebels against her husband, declaring her independence by moving out and embarking on an affair.

Transcending the Personal Self

She admits that her motherhood is a mere mistake, and begins to do things for herself rather than for others. She works on her self-serving art and even gains money while doing what she loves. In essence, the novel is the story of a feminist awakening.

There were many instances of birds throughout the novel.

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There is a caged parrot and a caged mockingbird at the start of the novel which represent the oppressed women at the time. Victorian women resemble caged birds who are cared for and nurtured but deprived of their freedom.

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Mademoiselle Reisz also compares rebellious women to birds who must be strong enough to soar high above society. The sea is mentioned often within the novel, however it has many connotations. When Edna first learns how to swim, it is a symbol of her newly acquired freedom.

The sea could also represent the uncontrollable current that is society, and her newfound swimming skills could be her awakening and rebellion against society and the current of the sea.

In the final chapter, Edna swims herself to exhaustion and drowns at sea. Another interpretation of this symbol could be that the sea is her only escape from society. By clicking "Log In", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails. Diana from A Research Guide Don't know how to start your paper? Worry no more! Get professional writing assistance from our partner. Click to learn more. Literature Guides. Premium Partner. Get help. Recommended Service. Your e-mail goes here. Your Password goes here. Your password goes here.The reader is prepared for this conclusion to the story because the plot line evolves in only one direction, downward.

There are also sufficient clues as to the conclusion woven into the experiences Edna faces. Two of these clues lie in the awakening Edna experiences and the rejection she faces because of this.

The first. The Process of Edna Pontellier's Awakening The society of Grand Isle places many expectations on its women to belong to men and be subordinate to their children. Edna Pontellier's society, therefore, abounds with "mother-women," who "idolized their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it to a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals" The characters of Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz represent what society views as the suitable and unsuitable women figures.

She lived the way she wanted to and wrote what she felt, thought, and wanted to say. Most men condemned this story, while women applauded her for it. Kate wrote with a sense of realism and naturalism and she created a voice that is unique. The Awakening is a story full of symbolism and imagery that can have many different meanings to the many who have read it.

It has been said that Kate Chopin might have been ambiguous just for this reason. At some point, almost everyone struggles with knowing or not knowing their purpose in life, and therefore it seems, that on some level, most who read the story about. Much of the controversy over the novel arose because of the character of Edna Pontellier. Edna was very much unlike the women of her time.

In today's terms she would be considered a rebel. Edna opposed the traditional roles of society that kept many restraints on the women of the 's. According to traditional society of the 's women were assigned the. For this reason, the reader of the book is much more effected than the viewer of the film.

In the novella, The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, there is much more evidence of symbolism as well as deeper meaning than in the movie version of the book, Grand Isle. The Awakening - Morality or Self-sacrifice?

The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, takes one back to an earlier time while still provoking the questions of morality and self-sacrifice that exist today.

awakening themes essay

Edna Pontellier, the protagonist of the story, places herself in the position to be the individual going against society from the beginning of the novel. These behaviors eventually. The short novel, The Awakening, begins at a crisis in Edna Pontellier's life. Edna is a free-spirited and passionate woman who has a hard time finding means of communications and a real role as a wife and a mother. Edna finds herself desperately wanting her own emotional and sexual identities.

During one summer while her husband, Leonce, is out of town on business, her frustration and need for emotional freedom leads to an affair with a younger man. Her search for identity and love leads her on a. When Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" was published at the end of the 19th Century, many reviewers took issue with what they perceived to be the author's defiance of Victorian proprieties, but it is this very defiance with which has been responsible for the revival in the interest of the novel today.

This factor is borne out by Chopin's own words throughout her Preface -- where she indicates that women were not recipients of equal treatment. Chopin, Preface Edna takes her own life at the book's end.A person in the middle or high society of 19th century New Orleans lived by intricate systems of social rules.

These largely unspoken rules governed minute details of dress and expression, and prescribed certain behaviors for different social roles: mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, virgins and spinsters all measured against their respective Victorian ideals. Of course, every society in every period has created its own unwritten laws; but The Awakening takes place in a…. In the social world of New Orleans, femininity was controlled and defined with severity. At every stage of life, a young woman faced myriad rules and prescriptions; a little girl should be A, a teenage girl should be B, an engaged woman C, a young married woman D, a mother E, a widow F, and on and on and on.

Pontellier and Madame Ratignollewho are preoccupied almost exclusively with surfaces—the appearance of a comfortable home, the appearance of a happy family—exemplify realism. Edna and Mademoiselle Reiszwho seek…. As she questions her habitual actions, her thoughts often seem separate from her body. Other women in the novel are represented by their hands, which are expressive, which do things.

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She is often…. Freedom, for Ednais release from the binding rules and stereotypes of convention, which the narrator compares to an ill-fitting garment. Freedom, for her, is also disengagement from obligation of any kind, including obligations to her husband and children. This desire for radical freedom is what is behind her obsession with the seaa place of complete solitude and emptiness. As she loses her desire for a connection to others, she gets the…. The Awakening.

Plot Summary. All Symbols Birds The Sea. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play.

The Awakening Essay Topics

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Download this LitChart! Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Awakening can help. Themes All Themes. Symbols All Symbols.A rather large reoccurring symbol throughout The Awakeningis the sea. An example ofsymbolism occurs when Edna recognizes that the sea functions as a lover to her.

The voice if the sea speaks to the soul. The touch if the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace. Chopin leaves Edna with the idea that since she could never attain the free life that she envisioned for herself, she lacks strong wings. An example of imagery occurs when Mr. To bathe at such an hour in such heat!

awakening themes essay

Pontellieronly views Edna as a piece of personal property that has been damaged, but also different and damaged in the eyes of society. She trembled; she was choking blind with tears. Mademoiselle had finished….

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The young woman was unable to answer; she pressed the hand of the pianist convulsively. He seated himself beside her and kissed her lightly upon the shoulder…. He did not answer, except to continue to caress her. He did not say a good-night until she had become supple to his gentle, seductive entreaties.

When she saw it lying there, she stamped her heel upon it, striving to crush it. But made her small little boot heel did not make an indenture, not a mark upon the glittering circlet. Pontellier is a sham. By using such vast amounts of imagery throughout The Awakening, Chopin enables the reader to view and understands the difference in gender roles and the yearnings of both to willingly and reluctantly conform to society.

An example of foreshadowing occurs when Mademoiselle Ratignolles warns Robert that Edna might take his affections seriously. She might take the unfortunate blunder of taking you seriously. Another example of foreshadowing occurs when Edna recognizes that she is losing interest in her marriage. Such experiences as the foregoing were not uncommon in her marriage.How many electrons in an atom could have these sets of quantum numbers?

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