Theme Of Motherhood In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

Decent Essays
In “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, the theme of motherhood and the idea of the “mother-woman,” are both very prominent. Two of the novel’s main characters are mothers, although their views on motherhood are not alike at all. Throughout the novel, Adele and Edna are compared to show how Adele surpasses the societal ideals of what a mother and wife should be, and how Edna defies those standards and refuses to let motherhood consume her life. One of the ways that this is achieved is by the use of the term “mother-woman” and applying it to both of the mentioned female characters. The term “mother-woman” is used in “The Awakening” to describe society’s image of the perfect woman; in other words, what Adele is, and what Edna is not. These women …show more content…
Although her condition was “in no way apparent” (9), she persistently commented on it and brought it into conversations. Even when she was forbidden by the doctor to lift anything due to her pregnancy, she would not stop expressing her love for her children, and would welcome them into her “fond, encircling arms” (12). In chapter XXXVII, Adele gives birth to her fourth child. She uses no sort of drugs to ease the pain, because the act of childbirth is a miracle to her. Adele wants to experience everything, because to her it’s natural. This shows how important motherhood is to her identity; she is a mother and wife, and nothing else …show more content…
He fell in love, and his “absolute devotion flattered her” (18). She did not worship her husband, like a mother-woman would do. In fact, multiple times she defies his requests and emancipates herself from him; she moves into her own home, doesn’t listen to commands, and begins to be financially independent. Léonce describes Edna as his “sole object of his existence” (5), and the fact that she shows “little interest in things which concern[s] him” (5) was discouraging. To Edna, her marriage was just a societal requirement to meet; she was fond of Léonce, but she resented the idea of marriage.
Although Edna did love her children, she was not as motherly as society would like her to be. Unlike other children, if one of Edna’s children were to hurt himself while playing, he wouldn’t “rush crying to his mother’s arms for comfort” (18); instead, he would “pick himself up, wipe the water out of his eyes and the sand out of his mouth, and go on playing” (18). When her husband insisted that Raoul had a fever, she argued that he didn’t, and then didn’t immediately get out of bed to

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