In the introduction, Sandra Gilbert explores the novel, The Awakening, by viewing it as a feministic and fantasy life of Edna Pontellier, who seems like the second-coming of the Greek Goddess Aphrodite. Gilbert’s purpose for writing the introduction is to shed a new light on the novel by viewing it a different way that most of us haven’t considered before, in hopes to explain parts of the novel that have often been misunderstood, and to argue or persuade that despite the realism of the book, Chopin was really writing more of a fantasy story focused on yearning, desire, and love. In other words, Gilbert argues early on in the introduction that this novel is a female fantasy. She claims that the book is a distinctly feminist fantasy of the second coming of Aphrodite. To support her argument, Gilbert claims that the story’s writing, though intended to be realistic, is more fantastical and mythical than anything else. She mentions mythical figures, like Aphrodite, and uses this to support her belief that The Awakening is a feminist novel. When Edna is spending her summer on "Grand Isle," it is owned and mostly occupied with women whose husbands visit them every so often. Gilbert feels that Edna's "awakening" happens when Edna learns of her role as a woman in society. She refers heavily throughout the introduction to the scene in the novel where Edna has her dinner party. Gilbert says that this scene is important and points out to several details including the dazzling decorations, fancy drinks, and Edna's own appearance. She goes on to point out how the scene is one of the "longest sustained episodes in the novel." Gilbert points out how the romantic transfiguration becomes a fantasy through its uses and references to such events like this dinner. Her search for femininity and independence could be the result of the unhappy relationship she found herself in. Gilbert presents her argument well and persuasive in the introduction.
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