Essay on The Awakening By Kate Chopin

1006 Words Nov 30th, 2016 5 Pages
Acceptance, freedom, love, and lust, these conflicts arise in The Awakening by Kate Chopin as Edna Pontellier struggles with her internal conflicts. Chopin uses foils to demonstrate Edna’s evolution in the novel. In a time where women are expected to be subordinate, Edna defies the standards and her oppressive husband. Two polar characters, Adèle Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz, exemplify compliance and individualism. These women act as foils and provide references to the reader in understanding Edna’s awakening of herself and society. Additionally, Robert and Alcée represent Edna’s views of relationships, or love and lust respectively. On one hand, Adèle can be seen as subservient, but Reisz represents the feminist movement. Similarly, Robert and Alcée also develop as foils that impact Edna’s relationship. These contrasting characters develop the prevailing theme, help Edna’s character development, and propel the plot. In an era where society expects women to dote on their children and worship their husbands, Adèle is glorified in society as a motherly figure. Madame Ratignolle cares for her family and sacrifices independence for their good. “Her name was Adèle Ratignolle. There are no words to describe her save the old ones that have served so often to picture the bygone heroine of romance and the fair lady of our dreams” (10-11). Madame Ratignolle is revered for her personality and is the ideal woman of the Victorian era. Unlike Adele, Mademoiselle Reisz projects…

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