Edna, the main character in "The awakening" by Kate Chopin

Essay by Stephanie2High School, 12th gradeB, January 1996

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This is a look at 'The Awakening' by Kate Chopin. When

you first look at the life of Edna you think there is not much to

discuss. Edna is a married woman who at first seems vaguely

satisfied with her life--'she grew fond of her husband, realizing

with some unaccountable satisfaction that no trace of passion or

excessive and fictitious warmth colored her affection, thereby

threatening its dissolution.' (Chopin, 558).

Edna doesn't know what she wants from life. It is evident

from the way she tries to change her life to make it better, that

she wants her own happiness. She refuses to stay home on

Tuesdays, which she is expected to do to satisfy the social

conventions of the time. She spends more time on her art. She

goes to races and parties all the time. All of this doesn't seem to

help her maintain happiness all the time.

There were days when she was very happy without knowing

why. She was happy to be alive and breathing, when her whole

being seemed to be one with the sunlight, the color, the

odors, the luxuriant warmth of some perfect Southern day.

There were days when she was unhappy, she did not know why,

when it did not seem worth while to be glad or sorry, to be dead

or alive; when life appeared to her like a grotesque

Pandemonium and humanity like worms struggling blindly

toward inevitable annihilation. (Chopin, 588)

Edna struggled to make her life more fulfilling. Edna

wanted what? Passion, excitement? She states to the Doctor,

'But I don't want anything but my own way. That is wanting a

good deal, of course, when you have to trample upon the lives,

the hearts, the prejudices of others--but no matter--still, I

shouldn't want to trample...