Late 19th Century Creole Society as it pertains to: Kate Chopin's The Awakening During the 1890?s, New Orleans was an interesting place to be. Characterized by strict social codes, both spoken and unspoken, a prosperous lifestyle was the reward for following these strict laws of the society. This conformity made for a strenuous situation for Edna Pontellier, the protagonist of Kate Chopin?s novel, The Awakening. It is of utmost necessity that Chopin places Edna in this unique setting, both because of the characters who inhabit it and the situations that are created and advanced in this late 1800?s society. It is the essence of the society and culture that dominates the novel and fuels the conflicts that are the body of the story. The singlemost important aspect of Kate Chopin?s, The Awakening is the placement of the setting in New Orleans society during the 1890?s; for it was the major justification and reasoning for Edna?s rebellion from restrictiveness, Leonce?s adherence to tradition, as well as the overall progression of the novel.
During this time period, women were supposed to take care of their children and obey their husbands at all costs. The society was made up of women, ?who idolized their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels? (Chopin 16). Life was very difficult for Edna under these circumstances. ?To a certain extent The Awakening shows Edna at the mercy of a patriarchal husband, a hot climate, a Creole lifestyle, and the circumscribed expectations of a particular class of Louisiana women? (Taylor 306). This eventually leads to Edna?s breaking free. In this society the attitudes of the husbands played a large role in Edna?s disapproval. The Creole husband is ?never jealous? (Chopin 21). However, their wives ?were possessions, cared for and displayed, who often brought a dowry or inherited wealth to a marriage? (Wyatt 1). Edna didn?t fit into...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document