Theme Of Marriage In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, is set in the Creole society of Louisiana in the late nineteenth century. In the novel, Edna Pontellier discovers that she wants to be more than just what society expects her to be as a wife and mother. During this time, women are to be completely dependent on their husbands and have few rights outside of marriage. At the end of the novel, Edna reaches the decision to end her own life to escape her responsibilities as a woman to her family and society. In the beginning, it is very apparent that Edna does not value marriage as a woman of this time should, and desperately wants to free herself from her own marriage. In Chapter 17, Edna becomes so angry at her husband, Leonce, that she throws her wedding ring and steps on it. Although, shortly after doing this, she puts the ring back on her finger. According to the article Necessarily Vague, Edna does this because she is conflicted between wanting independence and continuing to live like society wants her to live. (Erin E. Macdonald) After visiting the Ratignolles, Edna thinks about Ratignolles’ marriage, and believes that “it was not a condition of life which fitted her, and could not see in it but an appalling and hopeless ennui.” (Chopin 61) Even after seeing an example of a perfect marriage, Edna still feels that being a wife would not be a meaningful existence. Although …show more content…
As a woman, she is expected to enjoy her life as a wife and mother who totally depends on her husband for support. These roles do not fit Edna, as she wants to be free from her marriage and children. She wants independence, but even this would not work for Edna, because she is not strong enough to live a secluded life. By killing herself, Edna is able to escape everything she believes is keeping her from truly being

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