The Awakening by Kate Chopin Memo 1
In my own humble opinion, I believe that The Awakening by Kate Chopin is more about escape than a feminist agenda. Edna seems to feel trapped in the social confines of society at the time. Throughout the first half of the book there are plenty of examples of this. To name a few, Edna talks about when she was growing up in Kentuckey, she would wade through the tall grass instead of growing to church. Another example of the theme of escape being prevalent in the first half of the novel is her relationship in general with Robert. Edna is looking for something new, something to distract her from the droll routine of her day to day life as a housewife. Her relationship with Robert provides her with an excitement that she hasn’t felt since she married Leonce. This can also be seen as a rebellion, seeing as Edna came from a protestant background, while Leonce, being Creole, was Catholic. The theme continues throughout the novel after Robert leaves for Mexico. After returning to New Orleans at the end of the summer, Edna decides that she doesn’t want to host parties at their house on Tuesday. This can be seen as another form of Edna rebelling, and becoming bolder after her first swim and subsequent “awakening”. While in New Orleans Edna decides to visit her friend Adele, who she finds folding piles of laundry, a symbol of conforming. When leaving, Edna realizes that Adele’s perfect relationship with her husband isn’t attractive to her in any way. She feels that Adele’s contentment is naïve. All of these can be seen as examples of Edna’s awakening in regards to trying to escape the traditional Victorian social confines for women and men.
I found it interesting to look at the relationship between Edna’s awakening and her desire to escape with the fact that the more these feelings grow within her, the more alone she becomes. After her first swim, Edna immediately leaves the group to head bead to the house. While walking back,...
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