AP Lit. and Comp
26 August 2011
Edna's Journey To Self-Understanding
"A feeling of exultation overtook her, as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before" (Lombardi). The Awakening by Kate Choplin is about a married woman, Edna Pontellier, finding independence and self-knowledge. The book begins in a place called Grand Isle where the Pontellier family is vacationing. In the beginning, Edna is just like the rest of the women vacationing at Grand Isle. However, the reader begins to see how she is not happy with the life she is living and how different experiences are starting to have more effect on her than they would have before. Although from the outside they seem like a perfect family, Edna and her husband are not as close as they seem and she does not feel like a loving, motherly figure that she should feel toward her children. Events that happen to Edna during her vacation and continue afterwards open her eyes and awaken her to a phenomenon about herself she never knew before.
Edna goes through many experiences during her vacation that partake in her awakening such as tensions with her husband, her long conversations with her friend Adele Ratignolle, and flirtation she receives from Robert Lebrun. Mademoiselle Reisz’s piano playing is also a huge musical inspiration. After returning home, Edna has an affair with Alcee Arobin, begins painting again, and has surprising encounters with herself. Each event combined gives her a huge awakening to herself as an individual. Swimming in the ocean for the first time at Grand Isle is what helps give Edna the courage she always needed to begin her journey to self understanding.
All of the other women on Grand Isle believe Leonce Pontellier to be the perfect husband. He's a very successful business man, he loves...