"Repressing the Awakening" is a psychoanalysis of Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening. It examines decadent, displaced, and transitory sexual repression in the characters. Complete with quotes.

Essay by talusproteusHigh School, 11th gradeA+, February 2005

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In the 19th century, Sigmund Freud created a popular new method of psychological analysis, appropriately titled "psychoanalysis." Dealing primarily with subconscious impulses and desires, this popular method of evaluation soon spread beyond the realm of science and in to the literary world. In reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin, psychoanalysis introduces a significant revelation in regards to the novel's main characters. Using a Freudian analysis, the reader can see how both male and female characters exhibit subconscious signs of sexual repression and, in the more extreme cases, displacement of sexual passions and energy. When broken down, these characters can be divided into three categories: the decadent, the displaced, and the transitory.

To properly observe characters with displaced passions and repressed desires, one must first acknowledge their opposites, characters who freely commit overt sexual acts. Acting as a background, these "decadents" help us understand the repressed. Victor Lebrun, Alcee Arobin and Mrs.

Highcamp are members of this first category. Through analysis, we find a common thread tying them together; each likes to fraternize with members of the opposite sex. There are subtle differences though. While Victor is simultaneously supported and spoiled by his mother, his male counterpart, Arobin, chooses to take on the airs of real work by attaching his name to a prosperous business. He states that, "There are so many inquisitive people and institutions abounding that one is forced as a matter of convenience these days to assume the virtue of an occupation if he has it not" (146). The significance of these words rings clear when Arobin states the need to "assume virtue." Despite appearances, these men are not as gentlemanly as they might appear. Mrs. Highcamp, however, chooses to follow an altogether different route of debauchery by using her daughter as bait to lure men into...