As soon as Edna Pontellier “wakes up” from her ordinary life as a Creole woman, she longs for her own sense of personhood. Her journey starts off slow, but gradually progresses to a life of individualism. Prior to Mrs. Pontellier’s transformation, people expect more from her than she is willing to offer. Adéle, for example, scolds Edna, “…a woman who would give her life for her children could do no more than that…” (62) after Edna states that she is only willing to give up the unessential, such as money. Edna is also not willing to have meaningless sex with her husband. This is only the start of her rebelliousness, though. Edna awakes from her nap and asks, “How many years have I slept?” (49) as if to question why she accepted being pushed around for so long. At that moment, she becomes determined to become her own person. She is now stubborn and independent. She resolves that she can in fact be a good mother with out giving up the superficial. Edna no longer follows Léonce’s rules nor society’s norms in general. To an extent, Edna has no regard for what society thinks of her, she only wanted a sense of personhood. To her, personhood is finding true love and being able to express herself the way she wants. Eventually, Edna is able to find what she thinks is true love in Robert and also be able to paint courageously whenever she wants. Although the journey to personhood was not an easy one for Edna Pontellier, she is able to endure the hardships and prove others wrong.
True Love is Self-Consecrating
Edna Pontellier devotes herself to what she believes to be true love. Unlike most women who play along with Robert Lebrun’s flirtations, Edna is swept away by them. Since she has yet to have a deep, meaningful relationship that she actually enjoys, Edna is quick to think what she is experiencing with Robert is “true love.” She sees him as a promise of affection and excitement that she was missing from her husband. Even though Edna and Robert...
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