The Awakening: the Uncaring and Unselfish Aspects of Edna Pontellier

Topics: Suicide, Marriage, Suicide methods Pages: 2 (639 words) Published: May 7, 2011
The Awakening is a short novel that is written by Kate Chopin. This novella is about Edna Pontellier, a wife and a mother of two sons, who had a strong desire to experience the freedom or independence a woman, can have. She tries to achieve this desire, with many selfish decisions.

In those days, in eighteen hundreds, many had an orthodox view on feminism. This social attitude deprived many women with the power to live an independent life or do whatever they pleased in life. The only role women had to adhere with no choice were to either be housewives, nurturing mothers, or both. However, those who showed their unorthodox view of this social attitude were considered to have a bad reputation in society at that time.

In the novel, the importance of being a nurturing, caring mother and an ideal housewife is emphasized. Edna, however, almost completely ignores these priorities and only does it when she has been forced. For example, when Leonce returns from playing billiards, he went to check on his kids and found out that one of them have fever. However, when he tells her this she responses in a carefree tone that nothing is wrong with them and returns back to sleep. However, after much prodding by her husband, she wakes and goes to take care of the child (Chopin 48). This shows her selfishness, because she cares more for her sleep than being a nurturing mother and giving priority to her kids. Another example is that she leaves her children under the care of their grandmother, without any hesitation. It makes it seem as though she wants to be away from them so that she can achieve her independence. Furthermore, she explains that she simply wants her own way, although she acknowledges the difficulty of this, especially when it means she must “trample upon the lives, the hearts, and the prejudices of others.”

Edna Pontellier at first has an affair with a young man, Robert LeBrun, whom she wants to settle down with, running away from her marriage in which she...
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