Essay on The Awakening By Kate Chopin

2396 Words Oct 12th, 2016 10 Pages
In Kate Chopin’s novella The Awakening, Edna fights a psychological battle between society’s necessities and her own desires. Although she wants to be free to do as she wishes, Edna is controlled by her marital bonds and weighed down by the responsibilities of her family. These hindrances are so strong that Edna is unable to break free. By depicting Edna’s failure, Chopin suggests all women of the day will face insurmountable obstacles when attempting to attain independence.
First and foremost to many problems women like Edna confronted in Chopin’s time are the bonds of marriage. In 1899, when the book was written, the husband was the full proprietor of the house and all possessions, to the point where even the wife was often considered a possession. Leonce, Edna’s husband, remarks, “’you [Edna] are burnt beyond recognition,’ he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage.” (Chopin, 4). Leonce thought of Edna only as his wife; to him she was only a symbol and a trophy. From this thinking stems the reactions Leonce has to Edna when she was not paying attention exclusively to him. Chopin writes, “He thought it very discouraging that his wife, who was the sole object of his existence, evinced so little interest in things which concerned him, and valued so little his conversation.” (Chopin, 11). Leonce is irritated that his wife is not available at all times, yet his need that she should pay him constant…

Related Documents