The Awakening Essay, Research Paper
Awakening to the Real World
The only person controlling your life should be the one living it. Kate Chopin proves this statement in her novel The Awakening . Edna was a woman living in her late twenties in the Victorian era. She went on a summer vacation to Cheniere Carninada, where she met Robert, the man she grew to love and respect. Edna was married to Leonce Pontellier who valued her as a possession, and nothing more to that. Edna, realizing her life to Leonce was nothing but an object awakened her, which slowly led to her death. Edna learns how to love and cherish each day as time goes by she grows more and more apart from her lover. Edna awakens emotionally, sexually, and socially.
Edna s emotional awakening made her recognize her inner self and true feelings. She no longer had any feelings for Leonce Pontellier. I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier s possessions to dispose of or not. (178) She realizes the treatment she receives from him is not love. She only married him because she wanted to rebel against her parents. Like Wilber Fisk Tillett said in his criticism we might conveniently divide or subject into these three heads: (1) the southern woman before the war; (2) the southern woman during the war; (3) the southern woman since the war. Edna, a Kentucky Presbyterian, had impetuously and somewhat rebelliously married the Louisiana Creole, Leonce Pontellier. Edna wanted to be independent and free and she did not want anyone to possess her. Mademoiselle Reisz s music created emotional imagery for Edna. [Mademoiselle Reisz] had a way of evoking pictures in her mind. The very passions themselves were aroused within her soul, swaying it, lashing it as the waves daily beat upon her splendid body. (44) Mademoiselle Reisz s music would make Edna think inside herself about life. The images that she saw in her images represented her life and they all suggested that she should Get out of her everyday habitat. Edna recognized she had not feelings for Aerobin. He was nothing but a sex object for her. [Aerobin s painting] they don t amount to anything I d rather talk about you [Robert] (165). All this time that Robert was gone, Edna was using Aerobin as a temporary replacement for Robert. Consider Edna. It was Robert who awoke her. But, when he went away it was another who continued the arousal. Do you think Edna cared whether it was Robert or Aerobin? She would spend time with him because she had nothing better to do and she enjoyed herself. Edna s emotional thoughts would activate her soul.
Edna s awakening was shown through her sexual actions. She came to the realization that the only man she wanted to be with was Robert. How delicious it would be to have [Robert] there with her! I love you only you, no one but you (171). Robert was the only reason she was alive. After meeting Robert, he would be the only on she would think of. Robert was the one who awoke Edna from her life long sleep. Dorothy Dix said in her criticism The married flirt-the woman who has achieved a kind of temporary widowhood by going off for the summer-is even more dangerous . After she met Robert Lebrun the awakening stirred in her. Even though Edna cared a lot about Robert, she passionately kissed Aerobin. [Aerobin] leaned forward and kissed her, she clasped his head holding his lips to hers. (139). Edna liked to kiss Aerobin even though it made her feel irresponsible. It gave her a chance to be free. If he set the opportunity, Edna would kiss him. Overall Edna was getting involved with many men kissing her. The touch of [Victors] lips was like a pleasing sting to her hand. (156) She attracted and allowed all these men that came after her. She did not know her limits because she was overwhelmed with her new found freedom. She expressed her awakening through her sexuality. Even through all this being kept in mind is Edna has been married to Leonce this whole time. Even though he has gone on vacation it does not mean that she can just go on and live a single life.
During Edna s Awakening, socially her approach changed towards her society. She did not feel as if she belonged to the Creole society. Though Edna had married a Creole, she was not thoroughly at home in the society of Creoles. (18). She would feel left out and not understood. She could not fit in to the Creole society since she was not brought up in one. She bought a new house for herself and Robert. Without even waiting for an answer from her husband regarding his opinion or wish, Edna hastened her preparations for quitting her home on Esplanade Street and moving into a little house around the block. (141) Edna did not feel comfortable in her home and she wanted to get out. She wanted to start a new. Get out and show everyone that she can do it by herself. Her new home was a new beginning for her where she could be with Robert. She did not want to get involved with others, she just wanted to be herself and have things her way. I don t want anything but my own way. (184). She was tired of her life being controlled by others and she wanted to start over again her way. She did not find anyone else worthy of telling her what to do beside herself. Edna s society and social life changed when she awakened.
Edna lost her life because she was not able to fully take control of it. Although she got very far with her actions, she was overwhelmed by the results. Even though she accomplished more than any woman ever had before, her impulsive actions turned her down. You should think before you act, but be careful when you act, and do not let anyone else reflect on your thoughts or actions. Edna s whole life was led by a rebellion. Like Marie Fletcher said in her The Southern Woman In Fiction , But as subsequent developments in the novel reveal, Edna s first Rebellion was only one of many.