Acceptance, Freedom And Internal Conflicts In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1006 Words 5 Pages
Acceptance, freedom, love, and lust, these conflicts arise in The Awakening by Kate Chopin as Edna Pontellier struggles with her internal conflicts. Chopin uses foils to demonstrate Edna’s evolution in the novel. In a time where women are expected to be subordinate, Edna defies the standards and her oppressive husband. Two polar characters, Adèle Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz, exemplify compliance and individualism. These women act as foils and provide references to the reader in understanding Edna’s awakening of herself and society. Additionally, Robert and Alcée represent Edna’s views of relationships, or love and lust respectively. On one hand, Adèle can be seen as subservient, but Reisz represents the feminist movement. Similarly, Robert and Alcée also develop as foils that impact Edna’s relationship. These contrasting characters develop the prevailing theme, help Edna’s character development, and propel the …show more content…
She experiences forbidden love and lust. Her relationship with Robert and Alcée creates conflict, not only internal, but also external when she discovers circulating rumors about her infidelity. “‘… some one was talking of Alcée Arobin visiting you. Of course, it wouldn’t matter if Mr. Arobin had not such a dreadful reputation. Monsieur Ratignolle was telling me that his intentions alone are considered enough to ruin a woman’s name’” (130). The society of this era was critical of every action. As Edna has her awakening, her forbidden loves create tension in the story. In regards to the women, Reisz directly influences Edna, almost as a mentor. In contrast, Ratignolle tries to hold her from defiance. “‘In some way you seem to me like a child, Edna. You seem to act without a certain amount of reflection which is necessary in this life. That is the reason I want to say you mustn’t mind if I advise you to be a little careful while you are living alone”’

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