Intertextual Synthesis Essay
Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, centers around the theme of discovering oneself. The book shows readers the world of Edna Pontellier and gives them a window into her numerous insecurities and hesitations. Throughout the book, Edna attempts to become the opposite of the stereotypical women of her time. She chooses to be herself instead of the socially acceptable role she is expected to be. Additionally, Natasha Tretheway’s poem “Domestic Work” and Bobby Coles’ poem “Finding Yourself” attack the issues of independence, relationships, and gender. These two poems in combination with The Awakening strive to challenge the status quo of women everywhere.
In the 19th century, women were expected to be domestic goddesses. As a married woman, it was important to be a positive influence on her husband and children, but was still expected to address to her husband as the head of the household. These restrictions had many women, including Edna in The Awakening, feeling trapped. Some women felt the need to become their own person, as opposed to the woman they were expected to become. In the poem, “Domestic Work”, the reader is given a preview of a typical woman in the 1930’s: “She beats time on the rugs, blows dust from the broom like dandelion spores, each one a wish for something better.” (Trethewey 23-26). The poem displays the monotonous life of women in the 19th century, and how some women desired something more. Edna, from The Awakening, is included in the category of women who longed for a life beyond household chores.
In both The Awakening and “Domestic Work”, independence and a woman’s relationships are subjects of choice. Edna feels that she should be able to be free and independent. She wants to make her own choices about men and decide on her own who she loves without anyone else’s opinion influencing her choice. When Edna starts to lose the feelings she once had for her husband, she falls for Robert Lebrun. In fact, Edna...
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