Essay about Kate Chopin 's The Awakening

1028 Words Oct 23rd, 2015 null Page
In “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, the theme of motherhood and the idea of the “mother-woman,” are both very prominent. Two of the novel’s main characters are mothers, although their views on motherhood are not alike at all. Throughout the novel, Adele and Edna are compared to show how Adele surpasses the societal ideals of what a mother and wife should be, and how Edna defies those standards and refuses to let motherhood consume her life. One of the ways that this is achieved is by the use of the term “mother-woman” and applying it to both of the mentioned female characters. The term “mother-woman” is used in “The Awakening” to describe society’s image of the perfect woman; in other words, what Adele is, and what Edna is not. These women “idolized their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels” (8). Mother-women do not have an identity independent from their families. In short, their purpose in life is to serve their children and husbands, no matter the personal cost. Adele is the perfect example of the mother-woman, because she lives to be a mother and wife. Her identity is just that: a mother and wife. She mentions to Edna that “a woman who would give her life for her children could do no more than that” (47). To Adele, her life is her family and nothing else. Her sole purpose is to care for her children and her husband, and she’s more than content with…

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