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The Awakening Abstract

By meredithchapman Mar 14, 2012 631 Words
Meredith Chapman
AP English 3
Mrs. Puente
February 9, 2012
The Awakening Abstract Assignment
Literary critic, Carole Stone, celebrates the fact that Edna’s flashbacks, her submersion into the Gulf, and her idealistic ways are all necessary in order for her to become a true artist. Stone disagrees with recent critics’ claims that Edna is childish and indecisive, making her unable to make decisions and move forward artistically. Stone believes that having Adele Ratignolle and Madame Reisz in her life brings about Edna’s artistic nature. Adele represents the traditional, Creole woman. She supports Edna to embrace her inner-woman and talk about things she normally keeps secret. Adele’s foil, Reisz, represents the independent life of a true artist that has never been married or had children. Stone also believes that Robert Lebrun is a factor in Edna’s progression towards becoming an artist. Robert, unlike her husband, can be not only a partner, but also a friend towards Edna. He teaches Edna new things and promotes her to express herself however she chooses, while her current husband, Leonce, does not. Edna also discovers a sexual need by hanging around Robert, causing her to have an affair later in the novel with Alcee Arobin. Kate Chopin uses the sea to symbolize Edna’s rebirth as well. In The Awakening, Chopin uses the symbol of the sea as both positive and negative. Carole Stone acknowledges the things that restrict Edna from fully being able to move forward which are experiencing Adele giving birth and Robert confessing his love for her but continuing with his choice to leave. Seeing Adele give birth is a reality check for Edna by realizing she will never be able to live how she pleases. Edna’s love for Robert inspired her artistic ways, so when he chooses to leave, her connection to art does, also. Even though her new life won’t be on earth, Edna finally experiences her rebirth at the end of the novel when she submerges into the Gulf and dies. Word Count: 317

Overall, my feelings on Carole Stone’s criticism of The Awakening are supportive, but a few are mixed. On one hand, I do support her idea that in order for Edna to fully get in touch with her artistic ways, the flashbacks, submersion into the Gulf, and her idealistic ways are all necessary, but, on the other hand, I don’t agree with Stone’s idea that Edna’s artistic progress is influenced mainly by Adele Ratignolle, Madame Reisz, and Robert Lebrun. By focusing on these three people, Stone overlooks the deeper problem of the problems Edna deals with her husband, Leonce, and children. Towards the beginning of the novel, Edna realizes she has become just like one of her husbands possessions. She couldn’t believe that all this time before she had just “submitted” to all of his commands, but now she felt as though she couldn’t help but be “stubborn” and “resist” what he was asking of her. Edna didn’t realize how she hadn’t before, or why she couldn’t now just refuse to cater to him, especially considering the way she was feeling at that moment. Why was this the first time Edna was noticing this? At the end of the novel, right before Edna submerged into the Gulf for the final time, she recalled her children. Although Edna might have loved her children, she also, in a way, despised them. She couldn’t stand the fact that they were consuming her and she was being defined as a “motherly woman” because of them. Because of Leonce and the children, Edna eventually felt the need to get in touch with her inner artist, which, in turn, brought her to Adele, Reisz, and Robert, proving that the source of Edna’s artistic influence began with her husband and children. Word Count: 293

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