Exploring Self

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Mengfei Zhou (Candy)
English 111-Essay 3
October 23, 2011

Exploring Self
Fighting against social expectations and conventional morals on the journey of progressing-liberation, women have to insist on the quest for female identity with unrelenting passion during a male-dominated period. According to Fox-Genovese’s argument that Edna’s immaturity allows her to question her social position as a social truth. However, I would argues that, in The Awakening written by Kate Chopin, Edna sets an impressive example that presents us with a figure who takes a weary and tough journey in seeking liberation and authentic identity in a complex society, along with exploring self. The courageous soul seems to be the essential beacon guiding her through this tough tunnel, whereas, she finally understands that being herself in an authentic society will be the first step in truly achieving liberation.

Quite a few people claim that Edna already has an authentic life, since she is well protected by her husband, who looks at his wife “as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage” (The Awakening, Page 4) My view, however, is that this has the same meaning as Edna being a caged bird who is not fully understood by others. The author writes: “Her eyebrows were a shade darker than her hair. They were thick and almost horizontal, emphasizing the depth of her eyes. She was rather handsome than beautiful.” (The Awakening, Page 5) We learn that Edna’s powerful and serious impression foreshadows her internal strength and masculinity. According to Chopin’s description, Edna defines herself properly: “In short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman. The mother-woman seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle […] fluttering about with extended, protecting wings.” (The Awakening, Page 9) Firstly, the mother-woman depicts a typical-identity for a woman during the late nineteenth century in America. A mother-woman could be defined as a woman...
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