Woman vs. Society

Topics: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper, Black-and-white films Pages: 4 (1518 words) Published: June 18, 2013
The idea of the individual is ingrained in modern society, where oppression, at any angle, seems foreign and is looked down upon. In contrast, the female characters in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Toni Morrison’s Sula, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, are portrayed fighting against the “man’s world”, an atmosphere present in our country not too long ago. Edna, Jane, and Sula all reject the parameters put upon them by society and attempt to remain separate from it ,yet vary in degree of success due to their preparedness. The needs of individuals take precedence over society’s expectations when they are oppressed; but,if not prepared for the consequences of being outcasted by society, they will inevitably fail. Edna is the least successful among the three women, simply because she was not prepared for her choice of lifestyle. Enda was raised in Kentucky as a Presbyterian, and moved down to the Grand Isle later on. “Though she had married a Creole,[she] was not thoroughly at home with the Creoles”(Chopin, 12) As such, she is innately opposed to their alien lifestyle. Edna is not confined, but she longs to be separate, distinguished from them: an individual. She recognizes the importance of her identity in saying, “ I would give up the unessential... I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself” (Chopin, 64). Though her aims were clear, Edna remains chained to society, just by having a husband and children. Edna still attempts to have an affair with Robert, effectively breaking the trust and expectations of everyone around her, yet she cannot fulfill her goal, as even Robert pushes her away for that very reason. It is impossible for her to be independent because of her upbringing. Edna longs to emulate Mademoiselle Reisz, who has reached the pinnacle of independance and freely expresses herself through the piano. The factor which differentiates Reisz from Edna is that she has left society behind, along with the...
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