The Awakening of Edna Pontellier Essay

2489 Words Sep 10th, 2011 10 Pages
The Awakening of Edna Pontellier Kate Chopin’s short story The Awakening is set during a time where women were expected to live in a patriarchal society. More specifically, this story tells of the well-to-do Creole lifestyles in New Orleans during the mid to late Nineteenth Century. Chopin’s personal experiences as a woman during this oppressive time and her growth as an individual inspired her to write about Edna Pontellier, a woman who tries to break from the expectations of society to be her own woman. As Edna Pontellier in The Awakening experiments with the oppositional or alternative roles of Adele Ratignolle, Mademoiselle Reisz and of herself in the role of a "free woman," she gradually transforms into an individual apart …show more content…
Edna becomes upset and depressed while at home with her husband and comes alive when she is alone or with Robert. After a warning from Adele and recognizing how attached he and Edna have become to one another, Robert leaves Grand Isle for Mexico. The Grand Isle vacationers eventually return home to their normal lives although Edna returns home a very different person. Back in New Orleans Edna spends most of her time painting and ignores her motherly and wifely responsibilities. At the advice of Doctor Mandelet, Leonce leaves for an extended business trip allowing Edna to remain alone. With her husband and children gone, Edna begins to completely reject her lifestyle. She moves into her own home, has an affair and declares herself free from anyone’s control. Even though she has an affair she still remains infatuated with Robert. Edna believes that she should be able to have sexual relations and still maintain control of her life without men seeing her as an object. At this point in the story, Mademoiselle Reisz takes Edna under her wing. Edna heeds Mademoiselle’s advice regarding the life of an artist and the strength that it takes to endure. The connection between Mademoiselle Reisz is strong not only because of music but because she is the only one that knows and understands about the love between Edna and Robert. Robert, unable to stay away, finally returns to New Orleans and expresses his true feelings to Edna. He admits that he loves her but also

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