The Importance Of Edna's Awakening By Kate Chopin

1346 Words 6 Pages
In addition to conforming to rigid gender roles, women were also expected to be pure and loyal to their husbands. Edna is a woman ahead of her time and explores and discovers her sexuality throughout the novel. The reader can tell from the beginning of the novel that Edna is unhappy in her marriage with Léonce. She did not love Léonce and felt as though the marriage was a mistake. At first she is confused and not sure how to feel. As time goes on, she discovers her sexuality. The first time the reader sees Edna begin to explore her sexuality is when she is with Madame Ratignolle. Both women go to the beach and for the first time, Edna sees her friend in a different light, “She had long wished to try herself on Madame Ratignolle. Never had that …show more content…
She does not rely on her husband, or any men in her life for anything. Edna is like this even as a child, “Even as a child she had lived on her small life within herself” (Chopin 26). Though her independence is inferred throughout the novel, it becomes clear to the reader once Edna’s father comes to visit. Edna entertains and takes care of her father’s needs all on her own, “She would not permit a servant or one of the children to do anything for him which she might do herself” (Chopin 115). She is not a dainty woman who requires the help of men to get through life. Edna is a strong, independent woman. While her husband is away, Edna decides that she wants to be even more independent. She sees that the house around the block is for rent and, on a whim, decides it must be hers. She confides in Mademoiselle Reisz, “Mademoiselle, I am going to move away from my house on Esplanade Street” (Chopin 131). Mademoiselle is confused and asks why Edna would ever do this, to which Edna responds, “I know I shall like it, like the feeling of freedom and independence” (Chopin 133). Edna feels independent already, but this action will solidify her beliefs. Moving to her own place will make her the free woman she has always dreamed of being, “Soon, she decides to free herself of the constraint that is forced onto her by norms and the society as she has decided to move out. She is bound to be liberated” (Lee 6). Edna writes a letter to her husband while he is away and moves out of the house. She packs only her things, “Whatever was her own in the house, everything which she had acquired aside from her husband’s bounty, she caused to be transported to the other house, supplying simple and meager deficiencies from her own resources” (Chopin 141). From this, the reader can gather that Edna was always independent. Unlike many women of her time, Edna owns her own things. She did not rely on her husband to get her nice things. She

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