Chopin The Awakening Essay Research Paper Kate

Chopin, The Awakening Essay, Research Paper

Kate Chopin, “The Awakening”

The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, tells the story of a woman, Edna

Pontellier, who transforms herself from an obedient housewife to a person who is alive

with strength of character and emotions which she no longer has to repress or be shaped

by her surroundings. Her behavior is more shocking and horrifying because of her

position in society and it is that very position which causes her to feel restrained and

makes her yearn to rebel.

Adele Ratignolle is Edna’s close friend and confidante, but the two women are

nothing alike. Adele could not understand how Edna could say that she “would never

sacrifice herself for her children, or for anyone”. Edna’s being is taking on a new

importance in her life and she is starting to realize just how important it is to be true to

herself. She has never done that before because she always went along with the way things

were supposed to be, holding her socials and tending to her house until she became aware

that she needs more from her life.

Edna’s marriage to Leonce is safe, but there is no passion or excitement. “She

grew fond of her husband, realizing with some unaccountable satisfaction that no trace of

passion or excessive and fictitious warmth colored her affection, thereby threatening its

dissolution” . While this lack of emotion is enough to satisfy Edna for the majority of her

marriage, she begins to allow her true self to come forth because she feels trapped and

seeks a way to escape. She realizes that she needs intrigue and flavor in her marriage,

especially, in her life which seems to be suffocating her. Leonce cannot understand that

she does not fit the mold of the typical Creole woman.

The person whom Edna truly admires is Mademoiselle Reiz, who is a brilliant

pianist, though, her talent is somewhat lost on the other people on the island. They cannot

appreciate her artistry as does Edna because Mademoiselle Reiz does not fit their idea of

what a proper woman should be; she is eccentric and bold. Her music touches Edna to the

very core of her being and stirs up something inside of her that makes her feel alive like

never before in her life. Edna respects Mademoiselle Reiz because she has the courage to

be different and It is Mademoiselle’s music that starts to “awaken” Edna and allows her to

see the beauty and passion in life.

An amazing transformation takes place in Edna throughout the course of a few

months and the people with whom she interacts and the culture in which she is submersed

play a significant role in her “awakening.” Edna is able to break away from the restraining

world of Adele and Leonce in which she will never find her place. Stirred by the magic and

intrigue of Mademoiselle Reiz’s world, she finds the strength to reach for that which is real

for her, and she allows her true being to shine.


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