This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Feminism In "The Awakening" Essay

1540 words - 7 pages

Is The Only Way Out Death?A feminist critique of The Awakening brings about a completely different reading of the book. A feminist reading exhibits the negative depiction of women. It isn't thought that Kate Chopin was intentionally writing a book about the objectification of women or that she was attempting at activism (Showalter 211). In her time, Chopin had no knowledge of the effect her writing would have on women and men alike, or that her work would be "recognized today as the first aesthetically successful novel to have been written by an American woman" (Showalter 203). There is a binary opposition in The Awakening. Jonathan Culler states that it is a "matrix that organizes ...view middle of the document...

He never claimed that the choice would be an easy one, however. "In the face of apparent necessity, one could always choose death" (Palmer 234). This is a radical statement of Sartre's points, yet applicable. Edna had an awakening and exhausted all of the possibilities available to her. She did the one thing, as a human being, she had the capability to do. She threw herself back into the sea that engulfed her senses.The goal of feminism is to bring an end to the objectification of women, and in literature, to show that female characters are historically non-existent or exist only to serve men, and also to reclaim the role of women as characters and writers. This is mostly because it is not hard to see that "there is no place whatsoever for woman in the calculations of the hierarchy that is literature (Cixous 579). The Awakening, at first glance, was written by a woman and would seem to lack that problem, while it actually perpetuates it. "Power is the issue in the politics of literature" and almost always males hold the power, historically" (Fetterly 561).Even today women are not generally perceived as the breadwinners in a household. Women have traditionally, though more women work in 2004 than thirty years ago, taken care of the household and raised children. Even the women who seem to be escaping that cliché are enabling it to carry on. "One PR executive financed her husband's new restaurant and ended up pleading her case in bankruptcy court with $960,000 of debt attached to her name. She lost the 2,200-square-foot house with the pool and her Audi A6. 'I thought supporting his dream would get me to my dream -- to be a stay-at-home mom,' she says. Instead, she wound up a Saturn-driving single parent living in a condo with no credit." (Conlin 1) This particular woman, only as an example, ruined her life for the false ideal of family. This is not surprising considering there are agencies like The National Parenting Association. Agencies such as this one work to make parenting a higher priority. Women fought years, and continue to do so, for rights that would equalize them with men. Women are graduating from college at a higher rate than white men do, but family and raising children continues to be a motivating factor.There is a stigma attached to women who choose not to get married or have children, especially in the South. I have personally experienced this on many occasions. Edna Pontellier knew this fact. She attempted at a life where she gave up her goals and aspirations for a husband and a family, only to live in a world of despondency and despair. There are repeated instances in the book that refer to her despondency, ending in the last chapter of the book: "Despondency had come upon her there in the wakeful night, and had never lifted. There was no one thing in the world that she wanted" (Chopin 138). The environment that Edna lived in was shaped solely on the ideals of men that were projected on the women. The men went off to work...

Other Essays Like Feminism In "The Awakening"

DH Lawrences The Rainbow: Quest, Passage, Awakening, And Change In Re

555 words - 3 pages groping movements to get out of his chair. But he was crying uncontrollably, noiselessly, with his face twisted like a mask, contorted and the tears running down the amazing grooves in his cheeks. (p.433) This quote shows the mental torment that he felt when she told him that she did not wish to marry him. He left her after this. She was subjected to a deep feeling of remorse and regret.      Ursula's awakening comes very

Feminism in the Workplace Essay

536 words - 3 pages Women are, and have been, entering the workplace in rapid numbers. Although some women may face workplace discrimination, evidence shows that middle- and upper-class women are prospering. When talking about women in the workplace, often the term "glass ceiling" is used. It refers to the imaginary career barrier that seemingly impede's a woman's ability to rise to the top ranks of her profession, while men effortlessly continue up in the ranks

Kate Chopin Gives A Womans Voice To Realism

1206 words - 5 pages Kate Chopin Gives a Womans Voice to Realism Kate Chopin succeeded in giving a woman's voice to realism. While doing this she sacrificed her career. This seems to be a "higher order of feminism than repeating the story of a woman as victim...Kate Chopin gives her female protagonist the central role, normally reserved for the man, in a meditation on identity and culture, consciousness, and art." (Robinson 3) "The role of woman in the

Informative Speech

1685 words - 7 pages social reforms, and use political factions to great effect upon society's mentality. Although most view the First Great Awakening as the ‘first' and ‘greatest' religious, social, and political influence to American society, the second Great Awakening can be considered far more influential in its religious, social, and political aspects of influence. Even though the First and Second Great Awakenings focused its attention on other matters of life

Perspectives on Dalit Feminism

831 words - 4 pages Topic : Perspectives on Dalit Feminism Argument : “The Dalit Standpoint is about historically locating how our identities are not equally powerful, and about reviewing how in different historical practices similarities between women have been ignored in an effort to underline caste-class identities, or other times differences ignored for the feminist cause”, says the Dalit Feminist Critic, Sharmila Rege. In short, Dalit Feminism redefined

The Awakening Symbolism

1644 words - 7 pages A Journey for the Lost Soul The Awakening by Kate Chopin was written during the 1800’s and was published in the year of 1899. During this time, the novel struck controversial subjects using a strong feminist tone, which underlined Chopin’s views on sex, marriage, and women of that period. In this novel, it is evident that freedom and feminism are used as interrelations of each other to express her feelings towards each subject. Some characters

The Development of Feminism

818 words - 4 pages The development of feminism Feminists argue that gender inequalities form the major division in society. Most feminists also see gender relationships as being based on conflict and exploitation of women by men. They believe that much of the culture has been shaped by men and neglects the contribution that women have made in society. First wave The first wave of feminism emerged in the mide-1800s aiming to change the social and legal

Who Loves Jonathan Edwards And The First Great Awakening? This Essay Analyzes Both Him And And His Movement

593 words - 3 pages The Great AwakeningVenturing through history and time, you will with out a doubt find many events that relate to the topic of religion. From the dawning of man, all the way to the second millennium, you will come upon wars, reforms and conflicts all having to do with religion. One of the most influential religious revivals of all time, and especially in our nation's history, was the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening revived the recognition of

Effects of Feminism

1363 words - 6 pages Ploypalin Tan The advocating of feminism over the last few decades has seen women taking up leadership roles both in the political arena and in the corporate world. Feminism has paved the way for women to be oblivious to discrimination and prejudice when it comes to consensus in appointing the most suitable candidate to take on the helm. In the past, females have been oppressed in the work place and deemed less capable compared to their male

Anna Karenina and A Doll's House: Feminist and Marxist Critisism

874 words - 4 pages perspectives of the time are heavily compounded by their gender. Anna Karenina and Feminism In that sense Anna had her life set. She was married with a child to a wealthy man of high social standing Anna Karenina and Marxism A Doll’s House and Feminism Nora Helmer is an accurate depiction of a woman who lives in a male dominated society that actively supports the idea that women are not equals, but are mere dolls that exist only to be

Unit 11 P1

1790 words - 8 pages P1: explain the principal sociological perspectives. In sociology there are six main principal perspectives and these are Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism, Interactionism, Postmodernism, Collectivism and New Right. Functionalism In 1951, Talcott Parsons introduced the Functionalist view and this studies the social structure as a whole of how it functions as well as how each social structure is crucial in the interests of society

Related Papers

Feminism In "The Awakening" Essay

1091 words - 5 pages In the novel The Awakening, by Kate Chopin the critical approach feminism is a major aspect of the novel. According to dictionary.reference.com the word feminism means, “The doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.” The Awakening takes place during the late eighteen hundreds to early nineteen hundreds, in New Orleans. The novel is about Edna Pontellier and her family on a summer vacation. Edna

Edna's Infatuation In The Awakening Essay

1864 words - 8 pages What is the difference between infatuation and love? This has been a topic of conversation for years, and yet we still have never figured out the exact answer to the question. By Webster’s Online Dictionary the definition of love is “affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests”(Webster’s). This is precisely how Edna Pontellier believes she feels about Robert Lebrun in “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin. Although on the

Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Women's Role In Society

1577 words - 7 pages suicide, leaving her life and family behind. Mrs. Pontellier's character and how she ended her life is what caused the novel to receive negative criticism and caused a main controversy. In The Awakening, Kate Chopin portrays women as being loving wives and mothers that live their life to care for their family and worship their husbands. According to literary critic, Dana Kinninson, this story indicates two types of women, which are expressed by

Is Feminism Still Relevant In The Modern World?

605 words - 3 pages Is feminism still relevant in the modern world? In the early 20th century the suffragettes played a huge part in gaining votes for women. World War One also played a large part the feminist movement as women who had previously been deemed incapable of much more than looking after children and husbands were now required to help in other areas such as the work force as part of the war effort. After World War One women