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She upset many nineteenth century expectations for women and their supposed roles. One of her most shocking actions was her denial of her role as a mother and wife. Kate Chopin displays this rejection gradually, but the concept of motherhood is major theme throughout the novel.
Edna is fighting against the societal and natural structures of motherhood that force her to be defined by her title as wife of Leonce Pontellier and mother of Raoul and Etienne Pontellier, instead of being her own, self-defined individual. These women are the examples that the men around Edna contrast her with and from whom they obtain their expectations for her.
Edna, however, finds both role models lacking and begins to see that the life of freedom and individuality that she wants goes against both society and nature. The inevitability of her fate as a male-defined creature brings her to a state of despair, and she frees herself the only way she can, through suicide.
In the world of Edna Pontellier one can either be defined by men or live a life separate from the rest of society.
Adele Ratignolle is the epitome of the male-defined wife and mother. Adele is described as being a fairly talented pianist, yet even the very personal act of creating music is performed for the sake of her children. Adele also brings constant attention to her pregnancy in ways Edna finds to be somewhat inappropriate.
Adele is very proud of her title of mother, and one might say motherhood is what she was fated for. Edna finds that the life of the mother-woman fails to satisfy her desire for an existence free from definition.
She pities Adele and finds herself unsuited for the lifestyle of the mother-woman. Adele represents all four attributes of True Womanhood as defined by the Cult of Domesticity.
She tries to explain these reservations about loss of identity to Adele. Mademoiselle Reisz is the exile. Mademoiselle Reisz is a woman devoid of motherly tendencies and sexuality. She is physically unappealing and seems to have no romantic past, present, or future.
Her primary trait is her extraordinary musical talent, which she, in contrast to Adele, cultivates only for herself. Edna confides in her a desire to become a painter, and Mademoiselle Reisz cautions her about the nature of the artistic lifestyle.
Mademoiselle Reisz believes that only through a life of solitude and a disregard for society can an artist define herself and create real art. Edna enjoys a rewarding friendship with Mademoiselle Reisz, however, she finds the lonely artistic lifestyle to be imperfect due to its lack of sexuality.
Because Mademoiselle Reisz is the only artist-woman Edna is familiar with, Edna sees her lifestyle as representative of all artist-women.
After this potential has been brought to her attention, Edna cannot imagine herself living the asexual, artistic lifestyle of Mademoiselle Reisz, even if it might be a way to find the individuality that she is searching for. Edna yearns for a more physical relationship, where she can be touched and pleasured, so she rejects Mademoiselle Reisz as a role model.
Edna attempts to find self-definition by creating a third lifestyle option and beginning to act like a man. She sees that men are allowed to live lives of sexual fulfillment, while not being expected to bear or care for their children, and develop a personality and individual self through participation in the business world.
Edna first finds a sense of masculine freedom when Leonce goes to New York and Raoul and Etienne go to Iberville to stay with their grandmother. Edna explores her newfound lifestyle by taking up gambling at the racetrack and beginning to sell her paintings.
By infiltrating this masculine world, Edna is able to generate an income all her own and use the money she makes to rent a house. The pigeon house, as she calls it, is a place far away from any reminders of her family life.In the novel The Awakening, Kate Chopin () uses deep symbolism to show how the main character, Edna Pontellier, discovers her own independence in the society in which she lived.
Edna was a traditional mother and wife seeking freedom and independence throughout her adult life.
Chopin portrays Edna as being a rebel against her own life. In Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, the main character, Edna, has three distinct personality traits that define her throughout the book. One of her most noticeable traits is her irresponsibility, especially in regards to how she treats her children and husband.
- In the novel The Awakening, Kate Chopin () uses deep symbolism to show how the main character, Edna Pontellier, discovers her own independence in the society in which she lived.
Edna was a traditional mother and wife seeking freedom and independence throughout her adult life. Kate Chopin’s The Awakening was a bold piece of fiction in its time, and protagonist Edna Pontellier was a controversial character.
She upset many nineteenth . “Edna Pontellier, Adèle Ratignolle, and the Unnamed Nurse: A Triptych of Maternity in The Awakening.” Southern Studies (): Gaskill, Nicholas M.
Edna is a mother and Madame Ratognolle longs to have a family. Edna is the most beautiful woman on Grand Isle, and Madame Ratignolle surrounds herself with beauty. Edna is the only non-Creole among the Grand Isle vacationers and so provides more diversion.