The Awakening

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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The novel The Awakening occurs in the late 1890s. During this time period, women were the targets of unfair treatment and sexism. An example of this unfairness is that women were expected to stay home with the children while the men worked. Edna Pontellier does not want to live this lifestyle. Mrs. Pontellier wants to be able to voice her opinion and have her opinion count. In the novel The Awakening, Kate Chopin describes a woman who discovers the truths about human existence.

The novel portrays women to have insignificant roles in society. Society has allowed men to stereotype women and they are expected to act as such. It is commented, "The Awakening asked us to believe that a young woman who had been several years married, and had borne children, had never in all that time, been properly "˜awake'"�"¦(Pollard). They should also look and act proper. Women are trapped in being property to men.

There is a description of Edna's first awareness of her position: "A certain light was beginning to dawn dimly within her, -the light which, showing the way, forbids it.

At that early period it served but to bewilder her. It moved her to dreams, to thoughtfulness, to the shadowy anguish which had overcome her the midnight when she had abandoned herself to tears. In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her"� (893). Edna is beginning to realize her awakening to the world around her. This is partially accomplished by extra marital affairs. Little by little she breaks free from society's image, letting her independence shine through. As Justus agues "Edna's process of awakening is a kind of enlightenment but it can...



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