Being A Mother In Edna Pontellier's The Awakening

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As one becomes a mother, she is expected to nurture and raise her children and at the same time sentenced to maintain her family’s reputation in society. When a woman neglects her motherly and wifely duties society is out to criticize the inhumane action. In The Awakening, Edna Pontellier’s dereliction of her duty as a mother to her two children and wife to Leonce is chastised by those around her. Her denial leads to the assumption that she is a terrible mother whose impertinence is a threat to society. While society views Edna’s rejection to motherhood as immoral, her unwillingness to give up herself leads to her final act of love, for her children she was willing to sacrifice her life. Edna’s awakening was the birth of her rebellion towards …show more content…
She realizes she has no control over her decisions in life, even with Robert who she loves, but she says “today it is Arobin tomorrow it will be someone else...it doesn’t matter about Leonce Pontellier - but Raoul and Etienne” (188). Although Edna try so hard to forget her maternal instincts, she becomes enslaved to the inevitable connection between her and her children. That is when she visits Adele, who was in labor, it dawns on her that she can’t escape the cycle of motherhood. Adele’s birth reminds her of her natural position as a woman, where she “was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way” longed for her children, and sent them bonbons when they were with their grandmother (33). Edna has once said that she could sacrifice her life for her children, but never give up herself. Where she failed to become a mother-woman like Adele, and to become an artist like Mademoiselle Reisz, Edna realizes that she will never be truly satisfied with her life. Before leaving, Adele tells her to “think of the children” where she gives up the unessential and save her children. Edna decides to save her children and herself by committing suicide. Her actions illustrates her love for her children, where one would assume that her act was a resolution to escape from society, she does it for the sake of her

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