Gender Roles In 'The Awakening' By Kate Chopin

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Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening” provides readers with a dynamic perspective of challenging traditional gender norms in a provocative and controversial novel that advocates life from the perspective of the main protagonist, Edna Pontellier. The activities and events that Edna partakes in challenges orthodox thoughts regarding the role a woman plays in regards to her children, spouse, and society as a whole. These diversions from norms accurately reflect the unspoken rise of feminist thought actively occurring in society throughout the late-nineteenth century. In most American households, gender roles are ‘assigned’ in that the wife must be sure to take care of her children while the husband spends his time out of the house earning income and …show more content…
It is seen that whenever Léonce prepares to leave the home his children are much more readily wanting to go along than to stay with Edna. While it is made apparent that the children do not necessarily loathe their mother, their secure attachment to their father contradicts the typical traditional relationship between mother and child. In chapter three, Léonce makes valuable commentary regarding Edna, with Chopin stating, “He reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children. If it was not a mother’s place to look after children, whose on earth was it?” (Chopin 565). This statement signifies the belief that by diverting from being at her children’s every beck-and-call, Edna is violating her commitment to her family and …show more content…
Throughout the text, Edna develops as a character through her extramarital relationships in that she further comes to realization of her subjugation and desire to free herself from this—a universal idea championed by the feminist movement. As Edna transforms from being dissatisfied with her life and subjugation under Léonce and turns to fulfilling her true underlying desires, seen are actions that make evident to the reader the overarching goal of the text. This can be seen in Edna’s refusal and disagreement with her father in regards to attending her sister’s wedding. In an exchange between Léonce and Edna’s father, seen is the statement, “’She won’t go to the marriage. She says a wedding is one of the most lamentable spectacles on earth’” (Chopin 613). Not only this, but Edna’s decision to severe ties from her husband and family to live in a home of her own also display a rebellious attitude that displays severe opposition to traditional gender

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