Social Characterism In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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It has been argued that “the late nineteenth century was a scientific age. Literature could not simply remain the same after Darwin: the rules had changed” (Link 75) and that is what naturalist did. They started to reveal the origin to people’s actions and beliefs, as well as the cause. In The Awakening, Kate Chopin discusses some of the most relevant actions and new beliefs, such as divorce, adultery or woman and feminity. Although the work was quite controversial when she first wrote it, in recent years it has gained good reviews. Focusing on a female character, she expresses the eagerness of the protagonist to be free and to start a new life far from the social conventions. The aim of this essay is to show the way Chopin portrayed those …show more content…
She became a widow in her early thirties and had to raise her 6 children on her own, yet she was able to juggle “the demands of her writing career and motherhood with extraordinary success” (Martin 1). Her interest in literature emerged at a very early stage: her grandmother used to tell her Creole stories that sometimes included topics related to “extramarital romance and interracial marriage, which gave the young girl an unusually complex view of the word” (Martin 2). With the time, she became a well-known novelist and short-story writer. Many of her works describe themes such as social convention, freedom, moral constraints and women’s sexual desire and their erotic impulses (Martin 6). Casanova’s study showed that naturalism allows “writers […] to free themselves from the yoke of academicism and conservatism […] to obtain access to modernity” (qtd. in Newlin 98); so we could place Chopin into the naturalist writers since she will use her novels in order to express her ideas about women in the modern …show more content…
Adding to Dix’s argument, I would argue that in the novel, Edna believes that she has been overdoing her role as a mother. Moreover, we can perceive a tension between her role as a mother and wife and her desire to escape. From the very beginning, the narrator states that “Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother woman” (Chopin 10). Moreover, after the “awakening” Edna refuses to attend her children as she had been doing before. This action confuses Mr. Pontellier’s idea of perfect mother-wife, as can be observed in his thoughts: “If it was not a mother’s place to look after children, whose on Earth was it?” (Chopin 7). In other words, women in that period were supposed to stay at home, feed the family and take care of the children; however, Edna refuses to do so, which leads to the uncertainty of her

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