The Awakening By Kate Chopin A theme is the main point the author is trying to make the reader understand. In this novel The Awakening, by Kate Chopin the theme, which is to never let a man determine the fate of a women's life, is developed by characterization, setting, and conflict.
The theme is developed by characterization in this novel. The main character, Edna Pontellier, is unhappy with her marriage. She wants to find love and compassion and she does not find it in her husband. She falls in love with a man named Robert Lebrun. She finds all the passion and love that has been stowed away in him. Mademoiselle Reisz told Edna that Robert, "Poor fool, he loves you."(pg98) Edna also believed that he loves her. Mademoiselle Reisz is an uptight old lady who cares for nobody except Edna and Robert. She is a wonderful musician. Edna confides in Mademoiselle Reisz of her feelings for Robert.
Leonce Pontellier, Edna's husband, is a rich man of forty. He buys extravagant carpets, rugs, curtains, and paintings. He loves to buy expensive possessions and makes sure that every little detail in his house is perfect. Any woman would have been thrilled to have Leonce as their husband but Enda is not. The character's personalities help define the theme and so does the setting.
Through the many different settings the theme is developed. Grand Isle is the first setting in the novel. Edna develops her raging desires after leaving this island. This island gives her strength and hope. She explains to her friend Madame Ratignolle that "she would never sacrifice herself for her children, or for anyone." (pg. 47) She would gladly give up the unessential such as money and her body but she would never let anyone have her soul. The setting changes from Grand Isle to New Orleans where she and her husband live on Esplanade Street. She changes her mood with the sun and the rain. Edna is happy when the sun is shining. She is sad and depressed when it is cloudy. The setting helps develop the conflict because if Edna never went to Grand Isle she would have never met Robert Lebrun.
The conflict helps develop the theme throughout this novel. The conflict in this novel is that a woman realizes she is not in love with her husband but another man. She falls in love with Robert Lebrun in Grand Isle. He left for Mexico and did not know when he should return. Through his absence Edna is charmed by another man whom she has an affair with. Robert finally returns without telling Edna but by accident "he stumbled upon her"(pg. 98). She thinks Mademoiselle is lying when she told Edna that Robert loves her. She never could be sure until they had their own magical interlude together. They confess their feelings for each other with a passionate kiss. Then in the end Robert leaves her and as twisted as she is she decides to commit suicide.
Through characterization, setting, and conflict the theme that no man should determine the fate of a woman is developed in the novel The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. No woman should ever give up her life and soul for a man.