The Awakening

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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In the novel, "The Awakening," by Kate Chopin, while some may find Edna irresponsible and egocentric, she could also be realized as a woman only trying to find herself and her happiness in a society that was to shape every piece of her existence. The interactions she held with people, such as her husband, Robert, her children and even society as a whole during this time period, were what tore at her constantly and eventually brought Edna to her premature death. "In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her." (14) "Mrs. Pontellier, though, she had married a Creole, was not thoroughly at home in the society of Creoles …" (10). Edna was never really one of the women who seemed to fit what was respectable and right in this time.

It was here that she found Madamoiselle Reisz, who as a musician in her own respect, was considered unorthodox despite her talent. As a woman, she lived on her own, when it was considered unacceptable to be without a man. Standards in society must be met and if not, one will be shunned. Edna comprehends this and knows that she could never live on her own completely as Madamoiselle Reisz does. Madamoiselle Reisz bases her life on her talent, teaching students to play the piano. Edna tries to follow Madamoiselle Reiszs' example when she removes herself from culture's law, when she goes out on the day in which she normally receives visitors, as she refuses to call upon those who have called upon her, and finally in leaving her house to live on her own to paint. All of these things are steps on the...