Kate Chopin's "The Awakening"

Essay by coolsailuCollege, UndergraduateA, July 2007

download word file, 9 pages 5.0 1 reviews

Downloaded 74 times

Just 50 years after the first women's right movement in 1848, Kate Chopin had published her controversial novel, The Awakening to a society that was beginning to struggle with the concept of equal rights for all people. Chopin embraced the triumphs and frustrations she and many women of her time faced through the main character Edna Pontellier, a women who was struggling for her freedom in a male dominant society. Chopin descriptively takes the reader into a time period with strict cultural and class demands placed upon women. By resisting to conform to the stereotype of a mother-woman, Edna combats the pressures of 1899 that controlled her to be a devoted housewife, a time when a woman's place in society was confined to being a submissive wife and self sacrificing mother. Edna's break into freedom which was only possible through suicide shows that despite not being able to change the minds of those in her oppressive society, Edna was unwilling to sacrifice her life in order to conform to her societies ways.

The Awakening can be considered a pro-feminist novel because it supports and encourages women in securing financial independence, individual identity and sexual liberation, yet at the same time, does not fall into the time period, in which historians think the moment got its most momentum, and finally allowed the United States to pass its Women's Rights amendment to the constitution.

One of the most impressive ways Edna demonstrates her self-sufficiently in her new life is how she supports herself financially. Through an inheritance and her love for art, Kate Chopin releases Edna into the world where she is in charge and is not reliant on anyone else, including her husband or family. She goes even as far as renting her own cottage, to move away from her...