What Is The Internal Conflict In Kate Chopin's The Awakening

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In the controversial novel “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin the main character, Edna Pontellier, struggles with an internal conflict. Set in 1899, this novel follows Edna as she is vacationing with her family on an island in Grand Isle, Louisiana, and her arrival back home to New Orleans. Edna’s movement from Grand Isle to her home in the city forces her to explore the various ways in which she is expected to live her life. This internal conflict that Edna experiences throughout the novel is considered her awakening. It is Edna’s awakening that ultimately pushes her to her own demise; a demise that she chooses because of her inability to escape her dependence, overbearing husband, the reality of her relationship with Robert, and the expectations …show more content…
Throughout the novel Edna “awakened” many times and showed potential to be independent. Edna wanted to be as independent as Mademoiselle Reiz, but as she progressed in her own life she realized how impossible that would be. In the novel Mademoiselle Reiz states, “The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth” (Chopin, 90). After awakening, one thing Edna realized she wanted was independence from society, but Mademoiselle Reiz saw that Edna was not strong enough. Edna was in fact not strong enough to override societal expectations, so in the end she felt that death was the only way she could fly independent and be free. According to Mary Bird, “She is emotionally unequipped to deal with awakening and is unable to live within society according to the ideals she has established for herself” (Mary Bird, 1). Edna realized that she could never have true independence for herself within the society she was living, so she committed suicide in order to escape her …show more content…
She was expected to be a mother, wife, and housekeeper. Motherhood was one thing she struggled with throughout the novel, as she awakened and realized that she was not made to be a “mother-woman”. In the novel Edna states, “The children appeared before her like antagonists who had overcome her, who had overpowered and sought to drag her into the soul’s slavery for the rest of her days. But she knew a way to elude them” (Chopin, 124). Edna eventually realized through her awakening that she was not made to be a mother and her children only hindered her from being her true self. According to an opinion in a critical essay, “Edna finally realizes the commitment and obligation she has to her children “and that children can demand the mother’s life, even if they cannot claim the woman’s soul” (Edwards 284). Edna wanted so many things for herself that she was denied of because of her expected position as a mother in society. Unable to meet the expectations of herself and society at the same time, she decided to escape in the only way she knew

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