Tragedy In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

Improved Essays
Setting Grand Isle/New Orleans; late 1800s
Genre Literary Fiction - Tragedy
Historical Information
Kate Chopin, born Katherine O’Flaherty, proved through her writings the difficulties of defining female identity in America.
Two of her most famous works, The Awakening and The Story of An Hour, portray women trying to find their desires, struggling to realize what their desires actually are, and dying.
Chopin experienced many deaths throughout her lifetime, with those most close to her dying due to illness or trauma.
Themes
Identity - Edna is dissatisfied with being labeled a “mother-woman.” She seeks independence and understanding her own self.
“Even as a child she had lived her own small life all within herself. At a very early period
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They stay in a pension, along with the Ratignolle's. Madame Ratignolle and Edna are close friends. Madame Ratignolle represents the perfect “mother-woman,” complete opposite of Edna. In contrast to Madame Ratignolle's character is Mademoiselle Reisz. She is a pianist who is also vacationing in Grand Isle. Mademoiselle Reisz has a fondness for Edna and they become friends once Edna is deeply moved by one of her piano performances. Mademoiselle Reisz awakened a passion and self discovery in Edna once playing the piano. Robert Lebrun is another vacationer at Grand Isle. Each summer Robert devotes himself to a different woman, and the woman this summer happens to be Edna. Robert and Edna become infatuated with each other. The seriousness of the romance between the two compels Robert to follow through his plan of going to Mexico to gain his fortune. When Robert leaves, Edna becomes distraught, but is still infatuated with him even while he is gone. Edna decides to paint and sketch portraits (after her awakening, she has gained an interest in art) instead of tending to house chores to keep her mind busy. Léonce is confused and worried about Edna not doing her “mother-woman” duties, so he goes to Dr. Mandelet who advises Léonce to leave Edna alone. Edna visits Mademoiselle Reisz and is shocked that she has received letters from Robert, but Mademoiselle Reisz allows Edna to read the letters. Edna has

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