Conformity In The Awakening

1059 Words 5 Pages
In The Awakening, Kate Chopin illustrates the slow awakening of Edna Pontellier, a married woman who seeks her own happiness of individuality and her desires in a Victorian society. As a result, Edna tries to make changes in her life, such as abandoning her responsibilities as a mother and relocating into her own home. However, Edna is soon aware that change is not pleasant. Feeling impossibility and hopelessness, Edna chooses to die as an ultimate escape from the restrictions of the Victorian society she lives in. Edna’s journey to her awakening was challenged by conformity ultimately diminishing herself to insanity. Conformity is venom to the soul making it the captor of choice and the murderer of prosperity. Individuality and conformity …show more content…
Pontellier says, “You are burnt beyond recognition, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage” (Chopin 12). Mr. Pontellier surveys his wife with disappointment as she “began to laugh” (12) at an inside joke she remembered that happened on the beach with Robert. Mr. Pontellier does not understand the laughter but he makes the reader aware of the gender restrictions during the Victorian society. He depicts the superiority of men to women as he has the ability to control and dominate her as he looks at her like a broken piece of property which foreshadows Edna’s distress and eventually her death. Edna’s husband's superior behavior leaves her tainted with a little poison of conformity. As her husband comes back home from Klein’s Hotel around eleven o’clock at night he thought it was discouraging of his wife that she answers him with “little half utterances” (17) which made Mr. Pontellier think she “evinced so little interest in things which concerned him, and valued so little conversation” (17). However, Edna is “overcome with sleep” (17) because during the Victorian …show more content…
At a party Mademoiselle Reisz, an unusual and unpopular aged woman who gives inspiration to Edna throughout her awakening, is offered to play the piano. One piece Mademoiselle Reisz played arouses an emotion of “Solitude”(43) as Edna entitles the piece that. As Edna listens to her piano playing she imagines a “figure of a man standing beside a desolate rock on the seashore. He was naked. His attitude was one of hopeless resignation as he looked toward a distant bird winging its flight away from him” (44). The passions that are arousing in her is “within her soul, swaying it, lashing it, as the waves daily beat upon her splendid body. She trembled, she was choking, and the tears blinded her” (44). The music that Mademoiselle Reisz plays conjures emotions of hopelessness since she is never with her actual husband and her emotions beat against her soul as she tries to stay afloat. The image Edna envisions is a bird that is flying away from the man which stealthily foreshadows the end of the novel. At the end of the novel a bird appears “with a broken wing” (159) which showcases Edna’s fate of solitude that is felt by the broken individual allowing

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