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The Awakening

By sdljjdh May 10, 2013 1210 Words
The Awakening

1. What features make The Awakening a "local color" story?  The features that make it a “local color” story are the ways that the lives of the characters is depicted. The story makes it seem as though everyone knows each other, almost as if it is a very small town.

2. What customs and beliefs of Edna Pontellier's society are significant in relation to her psychological development? The customs and beliefs in her society are significant to her psychological behavior are the expectations that people in her status must maintain. She lived in a time when women did not have much of a say in their own lives so she had the urge to go against all of society’s rules.

3. What attitudes and tendencies in the Creole characters does Edna have trouble adjusting to? “Nothing. I simply felt like going out, and I went out. . . . Well I hope you left some suitable excuse.” The attitudes and tendencies in the Creole characters that made Edna uneasy were there “entire absence of prudery . . . Their freedom of expression” She noticed that among the Creoles was a very friendly and family like situation.

4. Why did Edna marry Leonce? Is he the model husband?
Edna married Leonce because she went against what her father and sister wanted. “He pleases her. . . Add to this the violent opposition of her father and her sister Margaret to her marriage with a Catholic.” He is a model husband because he works hard in order to keep the family on the higher end of society and he cares about Edna, always sending her gifts when he was away on business.

5. What incidents in the novel reveal that he may not be a good husband for Edna? The incidents that reveal that he may not be a good husband for Edna is his inconsideration for her feelings. He always seems to want to go to the club and doesn’t really have much contact with her. “I‘m going to get my dinner at the club. Good night.”

6. How do Mlle. Reisz and Mme. Ratignolle function in relation to Edna and the novel's view of women as mothers and artists?  Mademoiselle Reisz and Madame Ratignolle relate to Edna’s view of women as mothers and artists because they are examples of what Edna wishes she could be.“ . . was the embodiment of every womanly grace and charm” She wants to be a good wife and mother because that would give her the ideal marriage but she also loves being an artist.

7. What kind of mother is Edna? What kind of artist is she? “She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them” Edna is not a great mother because she seems distant with her children.

8. How are the background characters such as the young lovers and the lady in black at the shore, significant in Edna's story? The background characters are important in Edna’s story because they reveal her true emotions. The young lovers represent the part of her that longs to have that feeling of actually being in love. They represent her undiscovered feelings for Robert. The woman in black represents her state of emotion. She feels depressed when Robert leaves. She realizes that her life is not what she wanted it to be, she is not happy with her decisions.

9. In detail, explain how the flashbacks to Edna's past function. How does her father compare to the other men in her life? The flashbacks to Edna’s past function as a way to show the readers of a time where she was truly happy and worry free. She looks back upon the time when she was a little girl running through the grass so that she wouldn’t go to church. Her father compares to the other men in her life because he seems very controlling and unlike Leonce he voices his opinions about her actions.

10. How does the view of romantic love develop in the course of the novel? What is the doctor's view of marriage and childbearing? The view of romantic love develops through the young lovers and then later in the novel it develops through the letters that Robert sends to Mademoiselle Reisz, voicing his love and affection for Edna. The doctor’s view of marriage and childbearing is that that is what makes a happy family. Children seem to show what a marriage is.

11. Can you think of an emotional attachment and/or a romantic obsession you have studied in a previous work? How does that incident or character compare with Edna's emotional and romantic relationships? Edna can be compared to the main character from Their Eyes Were Watching God because she went through emotional and romantic relationships. The difference between the two characters is that Edna does not act on her emotions and never leaves her husband, while Janie did everything she could in order to make herself happy, no matter what people said.

12. What are the main images and symbols in the novel?
One of the main images in the novel was the beach and the little place where Edna would sometimes go and have dinner. The ocean represented Edna’s longing to be free and forget about the world. She wanted to swim out as far as she could in order to get away. The restaurant shows her solitude and her longing to be alone with her thoughts.

13. Why does Edna get involved with Alcee Arobin?
Edna gets involved with Alcee Arobin because she does not have her husband or Robert. She tries to fill the hole that Robert left inside of her with Arobin’s presence and infatuation with her. He let her be who she truly is and made her feel loved and wanted. She was acting like a child because she was just using him for her amusement.

14. Why do you suppose critics were outraged at this novel in 1899, saying it committed "unutterable crimes against polite society" and should be labeled "poison" to protect "moral babes"?  The novel caused all of that outrage because it shows the fallacies in high society. It also expresses the thoughts that a woman has and her intentions of cheating on her husband. Edna can be condemned for her selfishness because she did not like Robert and did not treat him well until he left for Vera Cruz. She only cared about her feelings and did not take into consideration her children when she committed those actions. The sensuality that she portrays also shows that she was a good woman.

15. What is your reaction to the end of the novel? Do you agree or disagree with the reasons for Edna's final action? My reaction to the end of the novel was of some surprise because I didn’t think that she would go so far as to kill herself. Throughout the novel it was apparent that she would try to do something because she kept getting more depressed and was no longer content with her life. I don’t agree with her action because she could have left her husband and started a new life but she still had her children top think about before she decided to give up on life.

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