Response To Kate Chopin's 'The Awakening'

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The Awakening Study Guide

Directions: Answer the following questions with specific references to the text, either in paraphrased form or with the use of quotations.

At the opening of the novel, what is Edna’s position in life? What is expected of her in this position? Chopin likens Edna to the green and yellow parrot trapped in its cage crying for everyone to “Go away! Go away! For heaven’s sake!” (Chopin 1). Edna must keep her thoughts to herself and is confined by her family’s expectations and those of society. In this position, it is expected that she be a good wife and a good mother. Wealthy women in Louisiana during this time were expected to serve these roles. Hence, she must put the needs of her family ahead of her own.
What kind
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Edna is gradually discovering how to be more intune with her inner emotions and understand the female condition as a whole. As Madame Reisz plays, Edna feels great emotion overtake her, admitting, “But the very passions themselves were aroused within her soul, swaying it, lashing it, as the waves daily beat upon her splendid body” (Chopin 26). Edna now understands that a woman has emotions that are important and recognizable and that those of a man are not more important. This is also seen when Adele plays “Solitude” and Edna thinks of the bird who left the naked man. Edna thinks about the naked man more than the bird, which is symbolic of a woman. This way of thinking emphasizes the views of men as opposed to those of women.
Why is Edna drawn to Mlle.Reisz and she to Edna? Edna is drawn to Mademoiselle Reisz and she to Edna because both women understand each other’s frustrations. Mademoiselle Reisz “perceived her agitation and even her tears,” showing that she clearly understands the powerful emotions that ran through Edna’s head when she played her music (Chopin 26). The fact that Mademoiselle Reisz tells Edna that she is “the only one worth playing for” demonstrates that Mademoiselle Reisz knows that Edna will understand the true message of her music that the others do not

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