The Awakening Essay

837 words - 4 pages


The short novel, The Awakening, begins at a crisis in Edna Pontellier's life. Edna is a free-spirited and passionate woman who has a hard time finding means of communications and a real role as a wife and a mother. Edna finds herself desperately wanting her own emotional and sexual identities. During one summer while her husband, Leonce, is out of town on business, her frustration and need for emotional freedom leads to an affair with a younger man. Her search for identity and love leads her on a wild ride against society and tests her strengths to the end.
     The book raises issues about the role of women in society, not only in the time period in which it is ...view middle of the document...

She felt that if she were to follow through with being with Robert, she would be taking away their expression and personal freedom. Edna was a very strong woman in the light that she did not want to give herself away. She strove to be an independent and self-sufficient individual.
     In the time period which Edna was in, women had few choices in the case of divorce, and men took the sole custody of their children. Edna could not stay with her husband and felt there were no options which would bring her happiness. People called her selfish and whiny, but that was not what she was at all. She was being forced by society and her family to stay in a situation that was against her nature. While she had a deep love for her children, she could not sacrifice everything, including her inner self, to them. Though she had genuine care and a real appreciation for her husband, she did not feel a passion toward him. Yes, it would have been the best thing for her sons if she had made herself into a "mother woman" like Adele Ratignole, but she would have been denying her true self.
     Edna sacrifices all in the end of the story and kills herself. Her suicide was not an escape from her children, but the ultimate sign of her...

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