The Hopeless Plight
The ideal Victorian woman was pure, chaste, refined, and modest. Kate Chopin illustrates this in the society of Grand Isle in The Awakening by showing the many expectations on its women to belong to men and be subordinate to their children. In the end, Edna Pontellier proves that she is weak by finding an easy way out of things when she learns that she cannot escape these expectations of society.
Edna Pontellier was never the ideal “mother woman.” She never treated her husband like the Grand Isle women did, the Grand Isle women defined their role of wife as being totally devoted as well as self-sacrificing for their husbands. “The mother-women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle…They were women who worshipped their husbands…” (16) this description is the total opposite of Edna. She did anything but worship her husband. For example, she was not interested in chatting with her husband the night when he came back in high spirit all willing to talk to her. It was almost as if she felt irritated by him. She was on the road to individuality and her husband was one of her biggest obstacles. She showed that she could be an exception from the mother-woman rule. Another deviation from her mother woman image was her moving out from her mansion into her own place this was another step forward towards individualism. This of course deviates from the ideal mother woman because she is married she and supposed to be with her husband and take care of his needs. Anything done contrary to that was a taboo. Edna did not adhere to these “rules” or so to say. The biggest deviation from her expectations was seeing other men. Edna did not respect her husband in that aspect. She is not happy in her marriage and her only distorted way out of it is to keep relationships outside her marriage. She found an interest in Robert and began to work her way from there and later to Arobin.
Society expected that Edna to be a loving mother to her kids but she...
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