Did the 1800’s Influence The Awakening?

Topics: Sociology, Creole, Woman Pages: 4 (1329 words) Published: December 5, 2013
Devon Roarick
Mrs. Paquette
14 April 2011
Did the 1800’s Influence The Awakening?:
During the 1800’s Creole society was very influential upon its population. Creole families lived in a high-class neighborhood and owned expensive houses that were admired by many. The husband supported the family while the wife was expected to be a stay at home mother as well as an accomplished artist or musician. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, is influenced by these norms of Creole society, which is realized with “artist woman” Mademoiselle Reisz, “mother woman” Adele Ratignolle, the protagonist Edna Pontellier, and her marriage to Leonce.

The Pontellier’s marriage and its aspects reflects the societal norms of Creole culture in the 1800‘s. Mansions are representative of Creole culture, men used to brag about their possessions because the amount of money and expensive things they owned, was their reputation (Bauman). In order to support his household and wealth, Leonce goes to the big city for weeks on end. Leonce and Edna have been married for six years and they still can not seem to understand eachother (Chopin). Leonce thinks that Edna has mental issues while she is just purely annoyed by him and only wants to be independent. This supports the fact that Edna and Leonce do not spend that much time together and just “use silence to communicate” (Streater 410). The Pontellier’s marriage is a perfect example of two people marrying each other just for the acceptance from society and security. Within a Creole marriage, the husband was the boss and was “not always faithful” as well (“Creole Culture”). Edna is not receiving the physical and emotional piece of the so called “marriage.” Even though this was not a common thing among Creole relationships, it is still needed in order to have a successful marriage.

The mother-woman image is another stereotypical image of Creole society. Adele Ratignolle meets Edna for the first time at Grand Isle. Even though they don’t...

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Walker, Nancy. “The Historical and Cultural Setting.” Approaches to Teaching Chopin 's The Awakening, edited by Bernard Koloski, pp. 67-72. The Modern Language Association of America, 1988.
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