The And The Awakening : Female Desire Essay

1406 Words Sep 22nd, 2015 6 Pages
The Coquette and The Awakening show female desire to break the constraints placed on women in the 19th century. In The Coquette, Eliza Wharton is presented with two choices, one man or the other. The option never exists for her to simply not be with a man, to not conform to the societal expectation of women. The Awakening presents Edna Pontellier, a wife and a mother, transforming from the ideal picture of woman to pursuing her own desires. Women’s desire is not only shown from the plot, the lives of Eliza and Edna, but also rhetoric. This rhetoric of female desire is shown throughout the text, not only from the women characters, but through the male characters presented alongside the women. Through male conversation with other males, the rhetoric of female desire is presented in conjunction with men’s response to female desire, allowing the reader an insight into the 19th century cultural boundaries. The rhetoric of female desire is articulated through various elements throughout the text, but to delve into male interactions and responses to female desire the focus is primarily on word choice, vocabulary, sentence structure, tone and the addressee. To begin, one must look how female desire is articulated to begin with and the rhetoric of the response, presumably from males, comments on female desire itself as well as the cultural codes being addressed. Set in the beginning of the 19th century, The Coquette is an epistolary novel allowing multiple characters to complete…

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