Literary Analysis of The Awakening
In “The Awakening,” Edna and Adele, the protagonist and antagonist, are both mothers trying to make it in the Creole society. Edna’s character rejects the roles of society given to her and the burdens of these expectations are expressed throughout; whereas, Adele is viewed as a motherly figure who is confident, and powerful in her life. The main topic that is expressed throughout the story is feminism, the process of creating equal rights for both men and women. Chopin reveals how women are being defined by a male construct of motherhood that not only denies their individual identity but also reinforces a sense of inferiority for women (Streater 407). Ironically, Adele and Edna are faced with the same limitations and situations; they just choose to handle them differently. Adele’s character is introduced as a “motherly-woman” (Streater 406). Her role as a feminist shows how she is selfless outside of her societal roles. Adele is a devoted wife and mother, the ideal nineteenth-century woman. Adele spends her days caring for her children, performing her domestic duties, and ensuring the happiness of her husband. Her character “refuses to be silenced and this makes her a powerful feminist role model” (Streater 410). Adele is portrayed as “a mother, femme fatale, a saint, and a wild woman” (Streater 409), in doing this, she reveals an identity that confuses the reader about her “authority of the mother-woman role beyond the male prescribed definitions” (Streater 409). Her position in the feminist issue is widely expressed throughout the story, she accepts the reality of a male dominated-society, but does not disregard the position of women in the human race. “…she doesn’t let everything else go to chaos” (Chopin 95). This allows her to retain a romantic aspect to her life while remaining happily married. In Adele’s marriage, she is treated as an equal, maybe even dominant in the relationship. This is the complete...
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