The Bear Essay, Research Paper
The opponent has just made his final play. The outcome of the game all depends on the next move. The mind, which was once hazy, is now becoming clearer. The goal is now in focus. She makes her move towards the left and then quickly retreats as though her body were to be sliced in half. She thinks this cannot be right, just because that move works for my teammate does not mean that it is right for me. There are two paths that can be taken to ensure victory or as it seems to the inexperienced player. Right or left, which is it? She thinks of playing towards the right as she has done so many times before, but she is tired of being predictable and fakes to the left. Did she overcome her opponent and win the game, or did she lose by choosing the wrong way? Time was running out and the crowd began to count Five, Four, Three, Two and she forfeits the game. The game is life and Edna Pontellier is up against the most experienced competitor, society. Her options are limited, a cross between Madame Ratignolle?s ideal ?mother-woman? persona and the seclusion of Madame Reisz. Edna finds neither of these paths satisfactory, as her desire for artistic and sexual freedom reaches its maturity. Edna forfeits life refusing to choose nothing less than to live it, in defiance of Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz, who are two unacceptable images of womanhood set before her.
Edna cannot fully identify with Adele Ratignolle, the typical ?mother-woman,? who finds fulfillment in rearing her children and obeying thy husband. Edna will ?give up the unessential; [her} money [and even give her] life for [her] children; but [she] will not give herself?.?(p.80) Mrs. Pontellier is boldly stating that she will do for her children all but give up her soul and will to live. She feels that her freedom is non-negotiable, and to do with as she pleases. Her children will no longer ?appear before her like antagonists who have overcome her, who overpower and seek to drag her into a life such as Mrs. Ratignolle?s. Edna is not the bygone heroine of ?beauty? flaming and apparent, [with] spun gold hair? [and] eyes like.. sapphires?, nor does she poses ?grace [in] her every step, pose, and gesture?. Never will her hands be more exquisite than Adele?s while holding a needle and thread (p.17). Mrs. Pontellier accepts the reality that she is not the typical mother -woman and cannot wear Adele?s hat, for it obviously does not fit her head. After Edna wholly rejects the conventional life of Mrs. Ratignolle, she begins to explore the artistic world of Madame Reisz.
Edna admires Mademoiselle Reisz?s devotion to her piano and savors the spell she weaves with her music, but cannot accept for herself Reisz?s life of solitude and bitter isolation from society. Mademoiselle Reisz is undoubtedly an outsider, but because of her ability to enthrall people with her musical gift, society pardons her eccentricity in exchange for her performances. Edna begins to picture herself as a withdrawn, disagreeable little woman, no longer young, who quarrels with almost everyone and has absolutely no taste in dress. The mere thought of being an artist to shed a responsibility, which she blindly assumed, and for which fate had not fitted her, is not enough for Edna. She refuses to live in a world were she can?t have male suitors prancing around her and spouting love sonnets as she gives into there warm entreaties. Edna rejects the world of Mademoiselle Reisz, who lives alone without lovers and children, equally as much as she resents Mrs. Ratignolle ?mother ?woman? universe.
It becomes clearer to Edna that she cannot live between both worlds and will eventually have to choose one path. The restrictions that the life of Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz place on her are unbearable for a bird with such ?weak wings? to handle. The lack of freedom in both lifestyles strips Edna of complete happiness, leaving her unable to live her life to the fullest.
Edna wishes to declare her independence from both worlds and is prepared to play fate for her life, and so the games begin. She weighs her options carefully knowing that the outcome of the game all depends on her next move. Her mind, which was once hazy, is now becoming clearer, the goal is now in focus. She makes her move toward the left and quickly retreats saying, ?there is no one thing in the world that she desires,? ultimately casting away Mademoiselle Reisz way of life (p.188). She thinks of playing to the right as she has done so many times before, but Edna is tired of being the subservient mother & wife, and does away with Adele?s way of life. She now has flashbacks of her as a child wandering aimlessly throughout a meadow where the grass drowns out all that the world has to say, leaving continuous open land to do with as she pleases. She fakes left towards the open sea for it reminds her of the freedom she once felt as a child walking through the grassy field. Edna?s time has run out and ?the foamy wavelets curl up to her white feet, and coil like serpents about her ankles? as she gives herself to the sea ?like a loving but imperative entreaty?(p.189/24)
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